GROUP POLICY BRIEF AD LDSP 732, DR. IRBY PRESENTED BY: RHONDA BROWN MARK DELANEY BARRON JOHNSON JAMES MICHLIG PHILLIP RHYMES RUDY RUIZ
The Problem In the current economy, where funds are being cut across all programs, how does a school district continue to meet the educational needs of its students, parents, and community?
Districts have been further challenged by the expansion of school choice in public education.
One option that has gained increasing popularity across the country over the past decade has been virtual schooling, in which students receive standards-based instruction online equivalent to that of their peers in the traditional brick-and-mortar settings.
The defining dimensions of online programs are their comprehensiveness, reach, type, location, delivery, operational control, and type of instruction (Figure 1, next slide).
The four dimensions most pertinent to policy issues are comprehensiveness, reach, type of instruction, and location (Watson, J., & Gemin, B, 2009).
What is a Virtual School?
What is a Virtual School?
In the U.S., more than 1 million K-12 students participated in online courses in 2007-2008 (approximately 2 percent of the K-12 student population),
An increase of 47 percent over 2005-2006 (Lips, D., 2010)
In Wisconsin alone, virtual school options increased from just two in 2002-03 to 18 in 2007-08 due to legislative support and the growth of technology.
This was due to legislative support and growth in technology.
The 2009 Sloan Consortium survey found that 75 percent of districts nationwide had one or more students participating in some form of online learning (Lips, D., 2010).
Enrollment Growth Over the course of just 13 years, the number of students taking advantage of online courses has gone up dramatically.
Enrollment Growth Wisconsin growth in virtual schooling has risen even more rapidly than the national trend.
Enrollment Growth The Wisconsin Tax Payer Alliance: A monthly review of Wisconsin government, taxes, and finance. Wisconsin Tax Payers Alliance . April 2008, Vol. 76, No.4 p. 1-8
Competing for Students This table illustrates the accessibility of virtual schools to students, revealing high numbers of non-resident students’ taking advantage of educational opportunities in certain districts, benefitting both the student, who obtains a quality education, and the district, which receives educational funds for that student.
Competing for Students In February 2004, the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance defining virtual schools as a “legally acceptable way to create additional capacity for students wishing to transfer…If a virtual school is not operated by the district, the legislation allows the district to enter into a cooperative agreement with the school so that its students can enroll.” (Hassel, B. & Terrell, M., 2004, p. 4)
Districts not offering virtual school options are finding themselves at a disadvantage in the current education market, in which families have the option of inter-district open enrollment.
In the ‘06-’07 school year, over 2000 Wisconsin students had transferred to another district to take advantage of virtual schooling opportunities.
The data charts show the number of students from the Madison school district that attend other districts via virtual schools, as well as the increase in enrollment in virtual schools over the course of 5 academic years.
Competing for Students
Virtual schools make courses accessible to students that they could not otherwise take, including
High quality/challenging curricula
Equitable access to high quality education for students from high-need urban and rural schools, low achieving students, and students with special needs
Students’ ability to participate anywhere, anytime
Benefits for Students
Students can select their pace of learning and interaction.
Helps build independence and time management skills among students
Methods of interaction can be tailored and individualized to best meet learner needs.
Benefits for Students
Academically, virtual schools perform about the same as traditional schools. Academic Performance The Wisconsin Tax Payer Alliance: A monthly review of Wisconsin government, taxes, and finance. Wisconsin Tax Payers Alliance . April 2008, Vol. 76, No.4 p. 1-8
Increased access to educational opportunities for students at decreased cost
Staffing costs are lower due to higher student-teacher ratios
Opportunities made available through virtual schooling include Advanced Placement courses, credit recovery and remedial courses, as well as foreign language and other elective options.
Possibility of increased revenue due to overall operational costs
Benefits to Districts
Initial start-up costs
The cost of programs, training, and technology is expensive, but money could be allocated from other revenue sources that would be saved such as transportation or facilities/maintenance.
How to retain students
Students who do not meet grade level expectations will need to be held back or provided additional support.
Place for student who may not have access to a computer
Some students may not have access to computers or internet and as a result would have to partake in a traditional academic experience.
Training teachers in virtual school technologically
Beyond curriculum knowledge, teachers would have to be trained in technology and troubleshooting.
Meeting special needs/IEP requirements
Face-to-face interaction to support students with disabilities would need to be worked out between the district the student is attending and the student (student’s family)
If the 130 Milwaukee Public Schools students who transferred to districts with virtual schools in 2006-07 had an MPS virtual school option, they would have represented a retention of $785,590 in revenue.
Any transfers into MPS for a virtual school option would represent over $6,000 in increased revenue per student.
For example, if the 59 students who transferred from the Racine Public Schools in 2006-2007, had transferred into MPS for virtual schooling, MPS would have gained an additional $356,537 in revenue (Wisconsin Taxpayer, 2008).
Scenario of Potential Outcomes
Additional Transfer Data The Wisconsin Tax Payer Alliance: A monthly review of Wisconsin government, taxes, and finance. Wisconsin Tax Payers Alliance . April 2008, Vol. 76, No.4 p. 1-8
With the elimination of caps on enrollment in charter schools and virtual schools in Wisconsin, funding will also likely be revised to support the growth of such schools.
With an increase in viable educational options school districts need to make sure that they remain competitive in the educational market.
It is incumbent on districts to stay relevant and viable, by offering virtual schooling options that fit the needs of its community, while maintaining its educational rigor.
Works Consulted Anderson, T., & Elloumi, F. (2009). The Theory and Practice of Online Learning. Athabasca: Au Press. Austin, K. (2011). Benefits of Online Learning . Retrieved April 18, 2011, from KGC Enterprise: www.kgcenterprise.com Barbour, M. & Reeves, T. (2009) The reality of virtual schools: a review of the literature. Computers & Education . Vol 52, p.402-416. Bavelier, D. Green, C. & Dye, M. (2010) Children, wired: for better or worse. Neuron , 9 , pp.692-701. Benefits of Distance Education . (2009, June 2). Retrieved April 22, 2011, from Haiku Learning: http://www.haikulearning.com/blog/2009/06/benefits-of-distance-education/ Cavanaugh, C., Barbour, M., & Clark,T. (2009) Research and Practice in K-12 Online Learning: A Review of Open Access Literature. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10 (1) p.1-22.
Works Consulted Clark, T. (2001, October). Virtual Schools Trends and Issues: A Study of Virtual Schools in the United States. Retrieved April 22, 2011, from Distance Learning Resource Network: http:// www.wested.org/online_pubs/virtualschools Clark, T. a. (2005). Virtual Schools and eLearning: Planning for Success. Retrieved April 22, 2011, from The Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning: http://www.uwex.edu/disted/conference/Resourcelibrary/proceedings/03_71.pdf Hassel, B. & Terrell, M. How Can Virtual Schools Be a Vibrant Part of Meeting the Choice Provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act? U.S. Department of Education Secretary’s No Child Left Behind Leadership Summit, pp.1-13. Hill, P. & Johnston, M. (2010). In the future, diverse approaches to schooling. Phi Delta Kappan , 92 (3), pp. 43-47.
Works Consulted Kremer, N. (2011, February). How I became a convert to online learning. Educational Leadership , pp. 63-67. Lips, D. (2010). How online learning is revolutionizing K-12 education and benefiting students. Backgrounder, 2356 . Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Bakia, M., & Jones, K. (2010). Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Policy and Program Studies Service. Merchant, G. (2010). 3D virtual worlds as environments for literacy learning. Educational Research , 52 (2) pp.135-150. Park, Y. (2011). A pedagogical framework for mobile learning: Categorizing educational applications of mobile technologies into four types. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12 (2).
Works Consulted Petrakou, A. (2010) Interacting through avatars: virtual worlds as a context for online education. Computers & Education, 54 (2010) pp. 1020-1027. Phan, K. (preparer) (2008) Legislative Brief from the Legislative Bureau. Legislative Bureau , Legislative Brief 08-6. Public Impact. (2010). Ohio urban school performance for 2009-10. Thomas B. Fordham Institute . Reid, K., Aqui, Y. & Putney, L. (2009) Evaluation of an evolving virtual high school. Educational Media International . 46 (4), pp.281-295. The Wisconsin Tax Payer Alliance: A monthly review of Wisconsin government, taxes, and finance. Wisconsin Tax Payers Alliance . April 2008, 76 (4), pp. 1-8.