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ERIC Number: ED523321
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 291
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1244-0550-6
Planning and Implementing Virtual Charter Schools in Wisconsin: A Case Study
Lee, Juanita Joyce
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Cardinal Stritch University
The long-term concern relative to education inequity indicates that the nation's youth will not be adequately prepared for the global and highly competitive marketplace of the 21st century (Casner-Lotto & Barrington, 2006). Initiatives to address this concern persist, including the creation of the virtual charter school (Vanourek, 2006; Watson, Gemin & Ryan, 2008). The virtual charter school movement is gaining momentum across the country (Hassel & Terrell, 2004; Rice, 2006). While advocates assert that these schools provide a necessary and publicly funded option that equalizes educational opportunities for youth, some critics of virtual charter schools question their overall success in terms of quality, accountability, and fiscal impact (Legislative Brief, May 2008). The purpose of this qualitative research study was to explore the planning and implementation experiences of 2 virtual charter schools in Wisconsin. Methods used to gather data were interviews, document analysis and focus groups. The research questions provided a discussion of the rationales and antecedents, the crucial first steps, and the challenges and successes experienced by 12 participants: founding school board members, superintendents, principals and teachers. The constant-comparison method of data analysis revealed that virtual charter schools evolved due to a growing market for this type of innovative school setting, the declining student enrollment experienced in brick-and-mortar schools, and a desire to individualize education for students. Based on the creation of new educational settings theory by Sarason (1998), findings further revealed a set of 6 guiding principles that may serve as a model platform to support the planning and implementation phases of new virtual charter schools: 1) Building Consensus, 2) Defining Roles and Responsibilities, 3) Assessing Needs and Obtaining Resources, 4) Collaboration and Teamwork, 5) External Constraints Management, and 6) A Time Efficiency Process. Implications of the research maintain that 1) virtual charter schools use computer-based technology to remotely provide equal access of educational opportunities for diverse student populations, and 2) guidance in planning and implementing these schools is crucial to translate educational philosophy into practice. The study concluded that the proliferation of virtual charter schools requires more observation and research to plan and implement quality virtual charter school programs. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Wisconsin