Sixteen-year-old Abdi Buul might log in to his chemistry class while sitting at his aunt’s pizzeria off University Avenue. Or he might stop in to see a teacher in Old Town to ask about geometry.
“You’re not under a schedule. I don’t have to go at 8 and come out at 4,” said Buul, who enrolled in iHigh Virtual Academy, an online school in the San Diego Unified School District. “I’ll do my assignments whenever I feel like it.”
Buul is getting his high school degree like any teen. But he is also testing out a new way of educating kids — taking classes online — that clashes with the way that schools traditionally count students and get paid by the state. In California, schools usually get funded by keeping track of who shows up to school, something one official dubbed “butts in seats.” If kids are in classrooms, schools get the money.