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Growth and performance of fully online and blended K-12 public schools

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Published: 2017-12-18

Authors

Charisse Gulosino

University of Memphis

Gary Miron

Department of Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology College of Education Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008-5283

Keywords: virtual schools; blended schools; cyber schools; hybrid schools; online learning; school choice; school performance  

Abstract

This study provides a census of full-time virtual schools and blended schools from 35 states. Specifically, it utilizes data visualization and exploratory data analysis to examine student demographics and school performance measures of virtual schools and blended schools operating in the 2014-15 school year. The school achievement measures for both virtual and blended schools indicate these schools are performing poorly. Nevertheless, the evidence suggests that their enrollment growth continues. Large virtual schools operated by for-profit education management organizations (EMOs) dominate this sector and are increasing their market share. While more districts are opening their own virtual and blended schools, the schools are typically small, and with limited enrollment. The proportion of Black and Hispanic students in virtual schools is lower than the national average, while students enrolled in blended schools more closely resemble the race and ethnic characteristics of students enrolled in brick-and-mortar public schools nationwide. Virtual and blended schools, while serving students in kindergarten through grade 12, have higher concentrations at the elementary and secondary levels. The empirical work in this area is in its infancy; hence, this study seeks to contribute to both the conceptual and empirical implications of virtual and blended schools by embracing a balance between their public and private benefits.

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Author Biographies

Charisse Gulosino

University of Memphis

Charisse Gulosino received her doctorate in education from Columbia University and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Leadership and Policy Studies Program at the University of Memphis. Prior to her current position, Charisse was a Postdoctoral Research Associate and a faculty member of the Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions at Brown University. She also previously served as a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Education Policy and Social Analysis (EPSA) at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her area of interest is in policies affecting students, their families, teachers, and communities in urban K-12 settings.

Gary Miron

Department of Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology College of Education Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008-5283

Gary Miron is professor of evaluation, measurement, and research at Western Michigan University. He has extensive experience evaluating school reforms and education policies. Over the past two decades he has conducted several studies of school choice programs in Europe and in the United States, including nine state evaluations of charter school reforms. In recent years, his research has increasingly focused on the education management organizations (EMOs) and efforts to create systemic change in urban schools in Michigan and rural schools in Louisiana. Prior to coming to Western Michigan University, Dr. Miron worked for 10 years at Stockholm University in Sweden.

PDF

Published: 2017-12-18

How to Cite

Gulosino, C., & Miron, G. (2017). Growth and performance of fully online and blended K-12 public schools. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 25, 124. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.25.2859