Distance learning can enrich regular classroom instruction and provide high-quality instruction in remote or high-poverty locations where students otherwise do not have access to specialized courses, such as advanced placement courses. In addition to providing affordable access to learning opportunities, high-quality distance learning can produce learning gains at least as large as those from traditional instruction.
By 2000, nearly all public schools, and seventy-seven percent of their classrooms, in the United States had access to the Internet. This ratio has steadily improved over the last five years. Distance learning is increasingly widespread at all educational levels, including the emergence of “virtual schools” in many states.
The Star Schools Program encourages improved instruction in mathematics, science, foreign languages, literacy skills, vocational education, and other subjects. Through the use of telecommunications technologies, the program emphasizes learning opportunities for underserved populations, including the disadvantaged, illiterate, limited-English proficient, and individuals with disabilities.