National School Boards Association Executive Director Anne Bryant published this commentary in the Huffington Post, citing concerns about the lack of quality research related to online schools for K-12 learners.
More research is needed to determine whether online education is as rigorous and effective as traditional brick-and-mortar classes, says Bryant in the commentary. And she says educators and parents should make sure to bring a critical eye to the discussion, since some advocates of virtual education stand to gain financially from its success.
For instance, she refers to John Chubb’s article published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which cites local control of schools as an obstacle to the growth of online education. She points out Chubb’s connection with Leeds Global Partners (he is the founder and CEO), which has investments in online learning in both higher education and K-12 education. She also refers to this article from The Nation, which points out many other connections between virtual education advocates and for-profit online education providers.
Bryant’s commentary is the latest in a wave of criticism targeted at the K-12 virtual education sector. Skeptics of online learning, such as Bryant, are calling for more research and accountability in that sector to ensure that the option is as effective as other educational approaches.
To learn more about this topic, mark your calendars for our upcoming chat, The Accountability Push in Virtual Learning, featuring John Watson, the founder of the Evergreen Education Group, an online education research organization; and David Edwards, from the North Carolina Virtual Public School. The chat will take place on Monday, April 9, from 2 to 3 p.m. Eastern time.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.