Virtual School Meanderings

May 28, 2023

EBSCO Alerts

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 8:04 am
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ebscoFirst, I received the alert for virtual schools, but there were no relevant items.

Next, I did not receive alert for cyber schools.

Finally, I also did not receive the alert for K-12 online learning.

So nothing to report this week.

May 27, 2023

Stride Learning – Idaho Technical Career AcademyStudents Are Ready to Take Charge of Their Futures

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 10:03 pm
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An item from K12, Inc./Stride Inc. themselves.

K12 Inc. Logo Learning Company
Stride Learning has added a new press release to its website:

Idaho Technical Career AcademyStudents Are Ready to Take Charge of Their Futures

Click here for a complete listing of Stride Learning press releases.


Date Sent: 5/26/2023 11:00:25 AM

ISTELive 23 Is 1 Month Away!

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 7:06 pm
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An item from the folks at ISTE, which has always had a focus on online learning.

ISTELive 23-email header-hubspot-650x211_v1

 3 Reasons to Attend ISTELive 23 in Philly!

Screenshot 2023-05-25 110957  1 

Screenshot 2023-05-25 110926 2 

Screenshot 2023-05-25 110809

And that’s just the start!
Sign up now to be part of the edtech event of the year!




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Thank you for your interest in our webinar!

Filed under: virtual school — Michael K. Barbour @ 4:08 pm
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Note this vendor-sponsored webinar recording from last week (or maybe it was the week before).

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You should know these numbers

An item from the folks at the Digital Learning Collaborative.

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You should know these numbers


K-12 education in the US is so large, that for anyone thinking about state or national issues and trends, having some numbers in your working memory is imperative. The data points that follow are mostly from A primer on elementary and secondary education in the United States, published by Brookings, with a few from the National Center for Education Statistics. Quotes are from the Brookings primer. I’m rounding and simplifying the numbers below. The United States has:

  • About 55 million K-12 students
    • 90% are in public schools; 7% of these are in charter schools
    • 9% of all students are in private schools
    • 3% are homeschooled
  • Three million teachers
  • 13,000 school districts with about 100,000 schools in total
    • Many of these are very small
    • The number of districts in each state varies widely even after accounting for the state population
    • Districts are usually managed by a superintendent who is hired by the school board, which may be elected or appointed
    • State regulations govern most school district activities, but a small number of federal laws and a small proportion of federal funding has an outsize impact on district governance
  • Additional, influential “non-governmental actors” include teachers unions, parents, foundations, and vendors.
  • Per-student funding varies considerably, with “New York, the highest-spending state, spending almost $30,000 per pupil, while Idaho, Utah, and Oklahoma each spent under $10,000 per pupil.”
  • Because of this wide range of funding, “Discussions of school funding equity—and considerable legal action—focus on inequality of funding across school districts within the same state.”
  • “While people often assume districts serving disadvantaged students spend less per pupil than wealthier districts within a state, per-pupil spending and the child poverty rate are nearly always uncorrelated or positively correlated, with higher-poverty districts spending more on average.”

These are all broad data points, not specific to digital learning. Why might they matter to you? Your mileage may vary, but some reasons why I believe them to be important for anyone seeking to influence education, or even just understand it, include:

  • The scale of education is larger than most people realize, which leads to statements that may sound more impressive than they are. “We’re used in 1000 schools” or “we’re used by 30,000 teachers” would each equate to about a 1% adoption rate. That can be plenty large enough to operate a successful company, but it won’t change education, so reach has to be considered relative to goals.
  • Given that there are 3 million teachers in the US, it’s quite easy to get adoption of any free technology by a substantial number of teachers.
  • Private school and charter school enrollment is relatively small, but big enough for each sector to be influential. Homeschool is a much smaller niche.
  • Governance is extremely complicated, which explains in part why change is so difficult. Mechanisms to respond to public opinion are built in, however imperfectly.
  • School funding is exceedingly complicated, and statements suggesting that US schools are underfunded and/or inequitably funded are often made without any underlying data. The case can be made that certain schools/students/situations are underfunded, but those situations are narrower than is often understood.
  • Budgets are huge, and therefore large numbers are relatively small by comparison. For example, when Mark Zuckerberg made a $100 million grant to Newark NJ public schools, that sounded like a big number (and it is). But the grant was spread over five years, and the district’s annual budget is over $1 billion, so the grant amounted to 2% of the budget, which helps explain why it didn’t have much impact.

Education is also, of course, mostly a state and/or local issue. In many situations, the state/local context is more important than overall national numbers, so these countrywide numbers should be switched to the region, student population, etc. that is most relevant.

Do you have a number or factoid that I didn’t include? Let me know in the DLC Community Portal’s Blog Discussion Group. If you’re already a DLC user or member, you must log in before you can join or comment in the group. If you’re not yet on the DLC platform, please create a free user account or join as a DLC member to join the discussion.


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