With regards to special needs students, I have actually found online learning to benefit them, sometimes more than more mainstream students (if there is such a thing). The ability to differentiate online for special needs, different learning styles, etc. is something that is very hard to do in f2f classrooms with 30-40+ kids. Online, though, we do things like include audio, video, different language levels, remedial or enrichment activities, etc. and allowing students to respond in multiple ways as well. I don't know how you can do that much in a f2f environment.
In terms of students having bad writing habits, it is a big problem -- but no worse online than f2f in my experience.
The level issues is so huge in our schools. If we were serious about not leaving any child behind, we would group students by their needs, not by age level....in my opinion, more flexible grade level (or other organizational) groupings is the solution to this. Do you think schools could ever get there? Are there other ways to deal with this?
Online differentiation seems lik e a possible first step.