Online charter school students are lagging
Students in the nation's virtual K-12 charter schools — who take all of their classes via computer from home — learn significantly less on average than students at traditional public schools, a new study has found.
The online charter students lost an average of about 72 days of learning in reading and 180 days of learning in math during the course of a 180-day school year, the study found. In other words, when it comes to math, it's as if the students did not attend school at all.
"There's still some possibility that there's positive learning, but it's so statistically significantly different from the average, it is literally as if the kid did not go to school for an entire year," said Margaret E. Raymond, project director at the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, or CREDO, at Stanford University.
It was the first national study of its kind to examine the academic impact of online public charter schools, which receive tax dollars but operate privately, often under the leadership of for-profit companies.