An examination of the growing field of online K-12 education finds that the industry—and particularly the for-profit sector within it—is in need of more public regulation.
The report, produced by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder, also says the need for regulation is exacerbated because online K-12 education is growing most quickly where it is least regulated. It says the challenges are greatest for states because they sanction and charter online providers.
To address the lack of regulation, the report makes recommendations in four areas: measures to ensure the authenticity of student work; regulations covering teacher certification and practice, demonstrating student progress, and school funding structures; audits of private providers to gauge the extent of cost savings possible through online learning; and new accreditation measures for online-learning providers.
A version of this article appeared in the November 02, 2011 edition of Education Week as Online Learning