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National School Choice Week is planned each January to highlight support for school choice programs and proposals. In support of this event, Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida and chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, authored an editorial for CNN. In his article, Mr. Bush discusses why school choice and the ability to send students to nontraditional schools that utilize blended learning environments are essential today.

The benefits of online and blended learning environments for students are almost limitless, but students are not the only ones that benefit.

Mr. Bush’s article points to U.S. Census Bureau data stating that the cost of a traditional education in the Arizona public school system is an average of $7,848 per student. The Carpe Diem Schools, a tuition-free, Arizona-based public school that offer classes online, costs $1,000 less per student. That’s a huge cost savings when you consider the sheer number of students in a state’s educational system. In today’s difficult economic and budget environment, the cumulative savings from enabling students to elect online and blended learning environments could help states to cut expenses and balance their budgets.

However, none of these programs, and the benefits they enable, would be possible without the technology driving effective online education. Video collaboration solutions are enabling education professionals to teach classes of students that are geographically distributed as if they were all in the same classroom.

These solutions are enabling teachers to have true face-to-face communication with students and interact with them. This enables students to actively participate in their classes, ask questions and have discussions with their instructors. They’re also enabling education professionals to bring guest lecturers, virtual fieldtrips and other educational opportunities to students that previously wouldn’t have been available.

Utilizing video content management solutions, teachers are also able to record educational content and lectures. This content or “lecture capture” can then be stored and made available for students to access online wherever and whenever they need to review it.

The message of National School Choice Week is one that education systems across the United States should embrace. By enabling online education, blended learning environments and the ability to choose which educational opportunities are best for each student, states can enable young people to learn the way they learn best, enable all students to have equal access to a quality education and even save states money in a very difficult budget environment. And behind all of these benefits are the video collaboration technologies and solutions that are breaking down the walls to a new and exciting way of educating America’s youth.