For adults, falling leaves evoke Norman Rockwell scenes of school drop-offs, homework and planning Halloween costumes. For a growing number of students in North America, that picture is totally different.
Rather than hoisting a backpack and throwing leaves in the school playground, on Monday morning a lone child sits at a computer at home and logs into a standardized off-the-shelf web-based program.
An increasing number of families in North America are choosing to enrol their children in cyber-charter schools, an independent school that is publicly funded but delivered by a private for-profit online-based company.
This new model of schooling is exploding onto the U.S. education scene. Off-the-shelf courses, facilitated by distant and often lower-skilled educators, are much cheaper than running a physical school, meaning there are big profits to be made.