Virtual School Meanderings

March 1, 2017

Article Notice – Online Schooling: A Cautionary Tale

This article was included in the EBSCO Alerts this past Sunday, but I wanted to post specific notice of it here.

Publication Cover

Journal of School Choice

International Research and Reform

Volume 11, 2017 – Issue 1


In this controversy piece, we portray online learning as growing too fast for existing regulatory structures to oversee and generally as having failed to live up to its potential. Operators, particularly for-profit operators, have generally not produced successful schools. We urge reforms of cyber schooling funding mechanisms, data systems, and oversight.


  1. It’s interesting that these folks say online learning is growing too fast for the regulatory structures. I see it very differently. Online learning is now well over 2 decades old. I’d say that if the regulatory structures haven’t been able to “keep up” then there’s a problem with those structures. That the regulatory structures choose to ignore, or not pay the attention to online learning over the past two decades is not the failure of online learning rather the failure of the regulatory structures.

    Comment by onlinelearningevangelist — March 1, 2017 @ 2:47 pm | Reply

    • I didn’t say this above, but I had the chance to review this manuscript before it was published and I recommended that it not be published without significant revision for many reasons (including the one you mention above). I agree with you that the regulatory issues are ones that -in my opinion – legislators have chosen to ignore because of the lobbying and advocacy efforts of the companies involved, as well as the incestous web of ideologically-driven advocacy groups (e.g., iNACOL, Foundation for Excellence in Education, ALEC, various philanthropic foundations, etc.). What is even worse is that the response to this article that we published in the same issue ignores many of this very real issues and attempts to put lipstick on the pig that full-time K-12 online learning has become.

      The bottom line is that we need to stop looking at the promise of or the potential of K-12 online and blended learning. As you correctly indicate Ray, we have more than two decades of experience in the field now. The time is long past for us to begin looking at how do we do this well and how do we prevent the current crop of crappy learning that is occurring in the majority of instances!

      Comment by Michael Barbour — March 1, 2017 @ 2:54 pm | Reply

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