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Rewarding Failure

An Education Week Investigation of the Cyber Charter Industry

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With growing evidence that the nation's cyber charter schools are plagued by serious academic and management problems, Education Week conducted a months-long investigation into what is happening in this niche sector of K-12 schooling. The result is a deep-dive account of what's wrong with cyber charters. Education Week uncovered exclusive data on how rarely students use the learning software at Colorado’s largest cyber charter, the questionable management practices in online charters, and how lobbying in scores of states helps keep the sector growing.

A Virtual Mess Inside Colorado's Largest Online Charter School

A Virtual Mess: Inside Colorado's Largest Online Charter School

At Colorado’s 4,070-student GOAL Academy, just 1 in 4 students uses the learning software each day. The founder helped direct millions of dollars to his for-profit management company.


Outsized Influence Online Charters Bring Lobbying A Game

Outsized Influence: Online Charters Bring Lobbying 'A' Game

Savvy lobbying, well-connected allies, and impassioned parents have helped keep online charters growing across states even in the face of often-poor results.


A Virtual Mess

Cyber Charters: Widespread Reports of Trouble

Education Week reviewed hundreds of news stories and dozens of state audits that document problems in the sector that date to the early 2000s. READ MORE >

Connections Education: A Defense of Cyber Charters

Education Week spoke extensively with senior officials from Connections Education, focusing on the company's response to challenges that cyber charters frequently encounter with student engagement.



Benjamin Herold, Staff Writer
Arianna Prothero, Staff Writer
Maya Riser-Kositsky, Assistant Librarian
Holly Peele, Librarian
Alex Harwin, Research Analyst
Sumi Bannerjee, Web Designer
Nina Goldman, Web Producer
Laura Baker, Creative Director
Gina Tomko, Art Director
Lovey Cooper, Multimedia Intern
Holly Yettick, Director, Education Week Research Center
Charles Borst, Director of Photography
Kevin Bushweller, Assistant Managing Editor
Lesli A. Maxwell, Assistant Managing Editor
Kathleen Kennedy Manzo, Managing Editor
Gregory Chronister, Executive Editor

Vol. 36, Issue 11

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