A Rocky Mountain low
A series of scathing articles soiled the pristine robes of digital learning this week, revealing stunningly high turnover, lamentable academic performance, and negligent oversight among Colorado’s largest online schools. The investigation by Education News Colorado and the I-News Network finds, among other things, that more than half of the Centennial State’s online students left their virtual schools in favor of local brick-and-mortars during the 2008-09 school year. Yet, though they left mid-year, the per-pupil funding attached to them stayed with their virtual educators. The Centennial State’s virtual schools did not commit malfeasance: They followed the letter of the law. In Colorado, school funding is based on a single “count” day, meaning that schools receive a set number of funds based on enrollment numbers in October, irrespective of how many students still attend that school in June. It’s no big surprise that virtual schools would have high attrition rates—students and families are trying out a very different model of education, after all—which makes it even more inexcusable for states to maintain funding systems that don’t take twenty-first-century realities into account. As digital-learning proponents, we welcome exposés of this ilk—if only to showcase how antiquated our current system is, and how it needs to change fast if we’re going to allow innovation to thrive and succeed.
|Click to listen to commentary on CO's virtual schools from the Education Gadfly Show podcast.
“Series: Half of Online Students Leave: Funding Stays,” by Burt Hubbard and Nancy Mitchell, Education News Colorado, October 2, 2011.“State Online Learning Reports Reveal Growth, Concerns,” by Bill Tucker, Education Next, October 3, 2011.
blog comments powered by Disqus