A new virtual reality charter school will open in Florida in the fall of 2022. It is called Optima Domi, and it presents itself as the most innovative step forward in homeschooling/virtual learning.

Unlike old-fashioned virtual charter schools, Optima Domi will immerse students in “virtual reality.” Each student and their teacher will dons headgear that immerses them in the sounds and sights of an actual classroom, even though their classmates are avatars, not humans. The curriculum, says the promotional material, will be classical, based on the Great Books.

The Governing Board of Optima Domi is heavy with financial executives and two medical doctors. The Optima Foundation is deep into school choice. Many of the leaders have experience in the charter school sector. Several are graduates of Hillsdale College, a small, ultra-conservative college in Michigan that refuses any form of federal aid for students or for any other purpose. The CEO of the Optima Foundation is a CPA and wife of a very conservative Florida Republican member of Congress, who was endorsed by Trump.

One may safely assume there will be no teaching about “divisive concepts” here. It seems to be the perfect site for programming students, although I can’t imagine many teenagers who would enjoy getting their “schooling” in complete isolation, with a headset turned on for most of the day. Most schools have teachers who come from different backgrounds and bring different perspectives to their work; students too come from different worlds and enrich class discussions by offering their views. In the virtual reality world, the lessons will be carefully designed to enforce the school’s perspective, without the intervention of teachers or students.