Atlanta – Several national reports released jointly this week by Mathematica Policy Research, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, and the Center on Reinventing Public Education say the majority of students enrolled in virtual charter schools have shown weaker gains in reading and math than those who attend similar brick and mortar schools. The good news is that virtual students in Georgia and Wisconsin outperformed their brick and mortar peers in reading, which is the foundation for learning in all other disciplines.
Outside of reading, the other results appear to show that virtual schools must double their efforts to improve overall student achievement. However, there may be a host of reasons why the performance of virtual charter schools may not mirror or exceed that of non-virtual schools.
The Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA) believes that virtual charters must face the same high level of accountability as all other charter schools, including closure when warranted. It is up to the authorizers to set the expected standards and hold the schools accountable for the promises made in their charters.
It is also important to acknowledge the great demand for online education by parents in the United States, and especially Georgia, where thousands have chosen this educational route. Virtual charter schools provide many parents with options for students that they feel cannot be met in traditional schools. For many, it may be the only viable option. As the use of technology increases, the need for quality virtual education is self-evident.
The hope of GCSA is that providers of virtual education will continue to do whatever it takes to serve their students and concentrate on areas needing improvement.