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NERA 2014 - In The Public Interest: Examining the Profit Motive in Cyber Charter Schooling

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Barbour, M. K. (2014, October). In the public interest: Examining the profit motive in cyber charter schooling. A roundtable presentation to the Northeastern Education Research Association, Trumbull, CT

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NERA 2014 - In The Public Interest: Examining the Profit Motive in Cyber Charter Schooling

  1. 1. Michael K. Barbour Sacred Heart University
  2. 2. K-12 Online Learning  virtual school = supplemental  cyber school = full-time
  3. 3. Bigbie & McCarroll (2000) over half of students who completed FLVS courses scored an A in their course & only 7% received a failing grade Barker & Wendel (2001) students in the six virtual schools in three different provinces performed no worse than the students from the three conventional schools Cavanaugh et al. (2005) FLVS students performed better on a non-mandatory assessment tool than students from the traditional classroom McLeod et al. (2005) FLVS students performed better on an algebraic assessment than their classroom counterparts Barbour & Mulcahy (2008, 2009) little difference in the overall performance of students based upon delivery model Chingos & Schwerdt (2014) FLVS students perform about the same or somewhat better on state tests once their pre-high-school characteristics are taken into account
  4. 4. Ballas & Belyk (2000) participation rate in the assessment among virtual students ranged from 65% to 75% compared to 90% to 96% for the classroom-based students Bigbie & McCarroll (2000) between 25% and 50% of students had dropped out of their FLVS courses over the previous two-year period Cavanaugh et al. (2005) speculated that the virtual school students who did take the assessment may have been more academically motivated and naturally higher achieving students McLeod et al. (2005) results of the student performance were due to the high dropout rate in virtual school courses
  5. 5. Haughey & Muirhead (1999) preferred characteristics include the highly motivated, self-directed, self-disciplined, independent learner who could read and write well, and who also had a strong interest in or ability with technology Roblyer & Elbaum (2000) only students with a high need to control and structure their own learning may choose distance formats freely Clark et al. (2002) IVHS students were highly motivated, high achieving, self-directed and/or who liked to work independently Mills (2003) typical online student was an A or B student Watkins (2005) 45% of the students who participated in e-learning opportunities in Michigan were either advanced placement or academically advanced students
  6. 6. • “Online student scores in math, reading, and writing have been lower than scores for students statewide over the last three years.” (Colorado, 2006) • “Virtual charter school pupils’ median scores on the mathematics section of the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination were almost always lower than statewide medians during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years.” (Wisconsin, 2010) • “Half of the online students wind up leaving within a year. When they do, they’re often further behind academically then when they started.” (Colorado, 2011)
  7. 7. • “Compared with all students statewide, full-time online students had significantly lower proficiency rates on the math MCA-II but similar proficiency rates in reading.” (Minnesota, 2011) • “nearly nine of every 10 students enrolled in at least one statewide online course, all had graduation rates and AIMS math passing rates below the state average” (Arizona, 2011) • “…students at K12 Inc., the nation’s largest virtual school company, are falling further behind in reading and math scores than students in brick-and-mortar schools.” (Miron & Urschel, 2012)
  8. 8. 1. “the preliminary research shows promise for online learning as an effective alternative for improving student performance across diverse groups of students.” (Patrick, & Powell, 2009) 2. “rank higher when looking at their ‘value-added’ progress over one year rather than simply measuring their one-time testing performance.” (Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools, 2009)
  9. 9. 1. “The mission of the International Association for K- 12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to ensure all students have access to a world-class education and quality blended and online learning opportunities that prepare them for a lifetime of success.” 2. Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools — an “organization dedicated to the enhancement and sustainability of quality charter schools”
  10. 10. • “K12 Inc. virtual schools enroll approximately the same percentages of black students but substantially more white students and fewer Hispanic students relative to public schools in the states in which the company operates” • “39.9% of K12 students qualify for free or reduced lunch, compared with 47.2% for the same-state comparison group.” • “K12 virtual schools enroll a slightly smaller proportion of students with disabilities than schools in their states and in the nation as a whole (9.4% for K12 schools, 11.5% for same-state comparisons, and 13.1% in the nation).” • “Students classified as English language learners are significantly under-represented in K12 schools; on average the K12 schools enroll 0.3% ELL students compared with 13.8% in the same-state comparison group and 9.6% in the nation.” Miron, G. & Urschel, J. (2012). Understanding and improving full-time virtual schools. Denver, CO: National Education Policy Center.
  11. 11. “AYP is not a reliable measure of school performance…. There is an emerging consensus to scrap AYP and replace it with a better system that measures academic progress and growth. K12 has been measuring student academic growth on behalf of its partner schools, and the results are strong with academic gains above the national average.” Jeff Kwitowski - K12, Inc. Vice President of Public Affairs
  12. 12. Mathematics performance: • students in the face-to-face group increased their performance by 1% more than the ARVA group from grades 3 to 5 (not statistically significant) • students in the ARVA group increased their performance by 5% more than the face-to-face group from grades 4 to 6 (not statistically significant) • students in the ARVA group increased their performance by 2% more than the face-to-face group from grades 5 to 7 (not statistically significant) • students in the ARVA group increased their performance by 16% more than the face-to-face group from grades 6 to 8 (statistically significant at the p=0.10 level) • Literacy performance: • students in the face-to-face group increased their performance by 3% more than the ARVA group from grades 3 to 5 (not statistically significant) • students in the ARVA group increased their performance by 11% more than the face-to-face group from grades 4 to 6 (statistically significant at the p=0.10 level) • students in the ARVA group increased their performance by 2% more than the face-to-face group from grades 5 to 7 (not statistically significant) • students in the ARVA group increased their performance by 7% more than the face-to-face group from grades 6 to 8 (not statistically significant)
  13. 13. • The ARVA sample had several of its lowest performing students removed before they had repeated a grade or had dropped out over the two year period • The ARVA sample was a more affluent group • The ARVA sample had significant fewer minority students • The researchers choose to use an alpha level of 0.10
  14. 14. • “the operating costs of online programs are about the same as the operating costs of a regular brick-and-mortar program.” (Anderson, Augenblick, DeCescre, & Conrad, 2006) • the report authors excluded from their estimates traditional schools’ capital expenses and transportation costs; had those costs been included, the authors noted, “the costs of operating virtual schools would have been less per pupil than brick-and-mortar schools.”
  15. 15. Colorado Cyberschool Association (2004) “cost per student [of cyber schooling] is not enormously higher than for in-class students. Over time, cyber education will become substantially more cost-efficient.” Ohio Legislative Committee on Education Oversight (2005) the actual cost of the five existing full-time online charter schools was $5382/student, compared to $8437/student for traditional public brick-and-mortar schools. Gillis (2010) Insight School was able to operate their full-time online charter schools at a cost of only $6,480/student (which was approximately 65% of the cost of brick-and-mortar education) Barbour (2012) St. Clair Virtual Learning Academy cost 16% less in 2009- 10 and was projected to cost 7% less in 2010-11 to provide full-time online learning than traditional brick-and-mortar schooling Fordham Institute (2012) traditional brick-and-mortar education costs on average $10,000/student, full-time K-12 online learning costs between $5,100/student to $7,700/student
  16. 16. • Mountain Heights Academy (formerly the Open High School of Utah) o non-profit online charter school based on “open access software and open educational resources for course delivery and content” o State Office of Education Public School Data Gateway grade: C • Utah Virtual Academy o for-profit corporation — K12, Inc. o State Office of Education Public School Data Gateway grade: F • Utah Connections Academy o for-profit corporation —Connections Education, a division of Pearson Education o State Office of Education Public School Data Gateway grade: not enough students enrolled and/or tested
  17. 17. • In the early 2000s banned cyber charter schools after a case of extreme corruption between one school district and a for-profit provider • In Spring/Summer 2009, the legislature lifted the cap and allowed two companies to each create one full-time cyber school o Enrollment capped at 400 students in the first year o Enrollment capped at an additional 1000 student in second year (1 regular student for each 1 student from the State’s dropped out roll) o Enrollment beyond year two would be determined based on the performance of the programs in those first two years
  18. 18. • In the Spring 2011, the legislature moved to remove all meaningful restrictions on the number and enrollment levels of cyber schooling in the State o Finally passed no restrictions on the number of cyber schools, but limited enrollment to half the size of the largest school district
  19. 19. Director of Doctoral Studies Sacred Heart University mkbarbour@gmail.com http://www.michaelbarbour.com http://virtualschooling.wordpress.com

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