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ERIC Number: ED526345
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Oct
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Online K-12 Schooling in the U.S.: Uncertain Private Ventures in Need of Public Regulation
Glass, Gene V.; Welner, Kevin G.
National Education Policy Center
Over just the past decade, online learning at the K-12 level has grown from a novelty to a movement. Often using the authority and mechanism of state charters, and in league with home schoolers and other allies, private companies and some state entities are now providing full-time online schooling to a rapidly increasing number of students in the U.S. Little or no research is yet available on the outcomes of such full-time virtual schooling. Partial or--blended approaches to virtual education, however, have existed for some time and have been studied fairly extensively. These approaches provide virtual courses in certain areas (math, English, and social studies, for example), and research has shown the virtual courses to produce test scores comparable to those from conventional, face-to-face courses. While such research is useful, it tells us little about scaling up from isolated courses to full-time virtual schooling. Some areas of the curriculum (the arts, for example) are likely beyond the successful reach of these new arrangements. And research thus far has offered little information about outcomes beyond scores on written tests. Moreover, the rapid growth of virtual schooling raises several immediate, critical questions for legislators regarding matters such as cost, funding, and quality. Virtual education presents policy challenges to governments at all levels, from local school boards to the federal government. However, the challenges are particularly acute for states, because states bear responsibility for sanctioning and chartering online providers. Therefore, this policy brief is accompanied by model statutory code language to addresses the issues raised by research and discussed in the main body of this brief. (Contains 70 notes.)
National Education Policy Center. School of Education 249 UCB University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309. Tel: 303-735-5290; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice
Authoring Institution: University of Colorado at Boulder, National Education Policy Center