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ERIC Number: ED560949
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Oct
Pages: 33
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
The Policy Framework for Online Charter Schools
Pazhouh, Rosa; Lake, Robin; Miller, Larry
Center on Reinventing Public Education
Online charter schools, charter schools that primarily utilize remote online instruction, have been both popular and controversial. As of October 2015, fully online charter schools operate in 26 (soon to be 27) states and enrolled approximately 200,000 students in the 2013-14 school year, comprising over 8 percent of all public charter school enrollments nationwide. Despite their growing popularity with students and families, online charter schools have received their share of bad press, thanks to reports of lackluster student outcomes and high-profile controversies over contracting for school management services with for-profit providers. This paper looks at the question of how state policy shapes the online charter school landscape. The authors reviewed the legal framework affecting online schools that operate as charter schools (as opposed to online schools operating on contract with a district or the state). The authors wanted to know: (1) In what ways do state laws vary? (2) How might that policy variation influence the ability of online charter schools to operate efficiently and effectively? and (3) What are emerging trends in state policy and how might charter online laws be improved? Overall, it was found that states' charter laws and administrative regulations create varied policy environments for online charter schools. With few exceptions, the regulatory framework targeting online charter schools is layered on to the overarching state charter law, which falls under the general education code. Moreover, the analysis shows that existing regulation arises in response to problems and concerns, not as a proactive set of policies to guide the unique opportunities and challenges of online charter schools. The following are appended: (1) State Law Resources; and (2) Major Laws Passed.
Center on Reinventing Public Education. University of Washington Bothell Box 358200, Seattle, WA 98195. Tel: 206-685-2214; Fax: 206-221-7402; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Walton Family Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE)