Virtual Charter Schools

Virtual (online) charter schools have been shown to have a significantly worse track record than brick and mortar public schools - either traditional or charter. These are run by for-profit businesses that take state funding, cut costs to ensure greater profits, and often move kids backward.  

There is practically no accountability for these groups. Because all schoolwork is done online, virtual teachers have no idea whether students are doing the work or whether parents or tutors are actually completing the exercises to inflate grades. State test scores are abysmal - far worse than either traditional schools or brick and mortar charters. And here's the real rub: it is impossible to verify average daily attendance - the measure that drives funding to schools. The virtual charter simply sends a bill, and the state or local school district has to fork over the state and local funding for the number of students the virtual claims to have enrolled. There is no way to count heads or determine whether or not students are actually attending. It is akin to turning on a funding spigot and allowing out-of-state for-profit businesses to rake in hordes of state funding - all while diminishing student achievement. 

A 2011 study of Pennsylvania's virtual charter schools found that 100% of the cyber schools had "significantly worse" outcomes than their traditional public school counterparts, for which the virtual school companies were paid $10,000 per student from public school coffers. 

You can read about these findings by clicking on the links below:

National Education Policy Center Report pages v, 9, 18 & 21    2011 Stanford University CREDO Study pages 8-10 

Click here for language that can be included in the charter school statute to prohibit virtual charter schools.

You can read newspaper reports about the dismal success rates and practices of cyber schools by clicking on the options below: 

Education Week: 

Public Schools Also Lose When Online Students Fail

Washington Post:


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