Classroom Technology

Promise to Problems: 15 Years of Ed Week Coverage of Cyber Charter Schools

By Maya Riser-Kositsky & Benjamin Herold — November 04, 2016 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Yesterday, Education Week published a major investigative report on full-time online charter schools, a niche sector of K-12 schooling that has come under huge scrutiny for poor performance and widespread mismanagement.

Included in Rewarding Failure is an interactive map detailing dozens of media reports about cyber charters in 22 states. From California to Ohio to Tennessee to Maine, local and state news outlets have been documenting problems in the sector for well over a decade.

We’ve been covering the full-time online charters for just as long. Here, Education Week’s Research Library pulls together 10 of our most significant stories on the sector.

1. Cyber Schools: Virtual Innovation? (Learning Matters)
February 2012

In this piece for the PBS NewsHour, Learning Matters visits the PA Cyber School in Pennsylvania to learn more about the pros and cons of going to school completely online.


2. Cyber Schools Carving Out Charter Niche
October 2001

One of our earliest stories on cyber charters, this 2001 pieces raises a red flag that is still relevant today: “Rules for brick-and-mortar schools may not work in cyberspace.”


3. Cyber Charters Have ‘Overwhelming Negative Impact,’ CREDO Study FindsOctober 2015

In the definitive study to date of cyber charters’ academic performance, researchers from Stanford University found that students at the schools made dramatically less progress than their counterparts at regular schools.


4. Counseling Is a Virtual Experience for Students at Online SchoolsNovember 2013

This story examined the challenge of providing comprehensive school counseling to students in full-time cyber schools.


5. S.C. Charters Agree to Accessibility Changes After Federal InvestigationMarch 2014

Internet-based schools in the state entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights to ensure their programs were accessible for students with disabilities.


6. North Carolina Approves State’s First Virtual Charter SchoolsFebruary 2015

California, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are home to the largest cyber charters in the country. But despite big problems in those states, other states have continued to approve the creation and expansion of such schools.


7. Inside the Life of a Cyber School Student (Learning Matters)
February 2012

In this companion piece to the PBS NewsHour segment, Learning Matters profiles two cyber school students with very different experiences.


8. Cyber-Charter Applicants Face Tougher Times in Pa.February 2014

Concerns around governance and whether cybers’ nonprofit boards are truly independent from the for-profit companies they contract with was the focus of this piece.


9a. Online Charter Schools: Fast Growth But Spotty Performance in OhioAugust 2016

9b. Ohio Cybers Could Be Forced to Repay More than $80M After Attendance AuditsOctober 2016

Researchers and regulators have been taking a hard look at Ohio’s cyber charter sector.


10. Rewarding Failure: An Education Week Investigation of the Cyber Charter IndustryNovember 2016

Amid growing evidence that the nation’s cyber charter schools are plagued by serious academic and management problems, Education Week conducted a months-long investigation that uncovered exclusive data on how rarely students use the learning software at Colorado’s largest cyber and details of the sophisticated lobbying operation that has kept the sector growing.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Classroom Technology Quiz Quiz Yourself: How Much Do You Know About Online Student Engagement?
How is your district doing with online student engagement?
Classroom Technology The Future of Blended Learning: What Educators Need to Know
More than two-thirds of educators expect their use of blended learning to increase during the 2021-22 school year.
8 min read
onsr edtech blended
Getty
Classroom Technology Why School Districts Are Unprepared for COVID-19 Disruptions, Again
Bad state policy, misplaced optimism, and a focus on full-time virtual schools left districts scrambling to educate quarantined students.
11 min read
onsr edtech hybrid
Getty
Classroom Technology Opinion Some Teachers Are New to Laptop Integration. Here’s How to Manage It
Let students help set expectations and make sure both you and they know how to use the tools are just a couple suggestions educators offer.
15 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty