Online K-12 Schools

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Achievement drops when K-12 students switch to online schools

South High School teacher Shauna Twardzik talks to students at South during an orientation last month in Denver. Students who transfer to online programs from brick-and-mortar schools, like South, posted lower scores on annual state reading exams after entering their virtual classrooms.

Students attending Colorado’s full-time online education programs have typically lagged their peers on virtually every academic indicator, from state test scores to student growth measures to high school graduation rates. Continue Reading →

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Investigation Finds Lax State Oversight of Online K-12 Schools

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Five years ago, state auditors blasted the Colorado Department of Education for failing to monitor online public schools that, among other issues, improperly funneled public money to private schools and maintained licensed teacher-to-student ratios of 4 to 1,500.

In a 10-month investigation, Education News Colorado and the I-News Network filed open-records requests, analyzed data, and interviewed district, state and online education officials to examine what has happened to state oversight of online education since that 2006 audit.

What emerged was a pattern of lax oversight for online programs, decisions that favored politically-connected online schools with lobbying muscle, and a failed attempt by lawmakers to fix the system. Continue Reading →

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