Virtual School Meanderings

May 19, 2019

Media Release: Reports Shed New Light On California Charter Schools’ Fiscal Impact

Note that the only reference to cyber or virtual charter schools in this series is in the second report, where it indicates that they analysis excludes the 25,000 students who enrolled in virtual charter schools from their analysis.

I should also note that one of the difficulties with this type of costing analysis is that it assumed that the loss is uniform.  For example, if a district loses ~30 students and the associated funding that they can simply cut a class of students (as ~30 students is roughly one class).  The problem is that in these ~30 students there may be three grade 1 students, five grade two students, one grade three student and so on.  This means that the school would not be able to cut a single class of students, but make do with the lower level of funding while trying to accommodate the same number of grades and classes.

If you’re having trouble viewing this email, you may see it online.
Share this:
Media Release
Travis Pillow
Reports shed new light on California charter schools’ fiscal impact

Seattle, Wash. May 17, 2019 – The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) is releasing three briefs that challenge some commonly held beliefs about the impact California charter schools have on school districts.

The reports come as a state task force reviews potential charter school policy changes, and state lawmakers prepare to debate a series of bills affecting charter schools. They conclude:

Charter school growth does not account for all district enrollment declines. In the most recent school year (2018–2019), charter school enrollment growth can account for little or none of the enrollment loss experienced by Los Angeles and San Diego Unified school districts. In Oakland, the district gained more students than did charter schools. District enrollment losses stem from a combination of demographic shifts and students attending schools in nearby districts, private schools, homeschooling, or charter schools. Read our full brief on district enrollment losses.

There is no evidence that charter schools are to blame for fiscal distress in California school districts. Based on state data, we find no relationship between the share of students enrolled in charter schools and the likelihood school districts will enter fiscal distress. Between 1998 and 2015, an average of just 1.5 percent of school districts where charter schools enroll more than 10 percent of students entered fiscal distress. Read our full brief on district fiscal distress.

Charter schools have, according to available evidence, important benefits for California communities and limited costs to the state. Like all policies, charter schools impose costs and generate benefits for California students. For example, in Southern California and the Bay Area, they have been shown to lift student achievement in reading and math—and particularly for students who are black, Hispanic, and living in poverty. These benefits should be considered alongside any costs. Read our full brief on costs and benefits.

“Charter school policy is too important for California to get wrong,” said Robin Lake, CRPE’s director. “It is important for policymakers to carefully analyze the impact of charter schools for all California students, and the full range of challenges facing public education in the state.”

The reports and an accompanying blog post offer recommendations for policymakers:

1.  The state should work with school districts to develop more accurate budget and enrollment projections. This will help restore trust with taxpayers and teachers negotiating salaries, and enable an honest conversation with taxpayers and state policymakers about public schools’ funding needs.

2.  Policymakers should consider transition aid for districts where students leave for charter schools, as states like Massachusetts have done. This could help districts deal with costs they can’t easily shed, and compete more effectively to attract students.

3.  In districts struggling with the effects of persistent enrollment declines, charter schools and the state could pay into debt reduction funds that a district could tap if it made strides reducing costs and increasing financial transparency. Charter schools, in return, could receive improved access to district facilities.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with CRPE expert, please contact Travis Pillow at 407.376.3105 or

About CRPE

Part of the University of Washington Bothell, the Center on Reinventing Public Education is one of the nation’s leading sources for transformative, evidence-based ideas to improve education. To ensure all students are prepared for a rapidly changing future, CRPE puts forward rigorous research and policy analysis to help educators, policymakers, civic and community leaders, parents, and students themselves reimagine education systems and structures. Learn more about CRPE’s current research here.
Center on Reinventing Public Education
Improving education through transformative,
evidence-based ideas about/research/etc
600 1st Avenue, Suite 206 | Seattle, WA 98104 United States

Got this as a forward? Sign up to receive our future emails.

April 23, 2019

Article Notice – K–12 Blended Teaching Readiness: Model And Instrument Development

This article came across my electronic desk last week sometime.  It appears that the volume that it will formally appear in has not be released yet, but it appears here in the “Articles First” portion of the journal.

Publication Cover

K–12 Blended Teaching Readiness: Model and Instrument Development

Charles R. Graham,Jered Borup, Emily Pulham & Ross Larsen
Received 23 Aug 2018, Accepted 20 Feb 2019, Published online: 17 Apr 2019


An increasing number of K–12 schools have adopted blended learning approaches. Current empirical research has been sparse regarding preparing teachers for blended teaching, including the skills they must develop to teach in blended contexts. This research is focused on that weakness, with the purposes of systematically identifying the skills needed for teaching in a blended learning context and of developing and testing an instrument that can be used to determine individual and school-wide readiness for blended teaching. In this study we present a measurement model used to develop items for measuring K–12 blended learning readiness. Specifically the instrument contained the following top-level areas: (a) foundational knowledge, skills, and dispositions, (b) instructional planning, (c) instructional methods and strategies, (d) assessment and evaluation, and (e) management. Each top-level construct also had two to four subconstructs. Through confirmatory factor analysis using survey responses from 2,290 K–12 teachers we found that the data met all four fit statistics cutoffs set forth in the literature (root mean square error of approximation [RMSEA]= 0.041, comparative fit index [CFI] = 0.926, Tucker–Lewis index [TLI] = 0.923, standardized root mean square residual [SRMR] = 0.041, X2 = 978.934, df = 1992).

Keywords:: K–12 blended learningblended teaching competencies

March 18, 2019

Article Notice: Cases of Quality: Case Studies Of The Approval And Evaluation Of K-12 Online And Blended Providers

Note that I am one of the authors of this article.

Cases of Quality: Case Studies of the Approval and Evaluation of K-12 Online and Blended Providers

Michael K. Barbour
Touro University California

Tom Clark
Clark Consulting

Jason Siko
Madonna University

Kristen DeBruler
Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

Justin Bruno
Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute


State-level departments of education vary in their mechanisms for monitoring online courses and programs. This study reviewed various state models for initial and ongoing evaluation of online courses. Five constructs were identified through this review, and examples from Georgia, Maryland, California, Washington, and Colorado were detailed. The report concludes with potential models and key guidelines for states to consider when developing policy to ensure quality online education for K-12 students.


Barbour, M. K., Clark, T., Siko, J. P., DeBruler, K., & Bruno, J. A. (2019). Evaluation and approval constructs for online and blended courses and providers: Examining individual cases. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 22(1). Retrieved from

February 14, 2019

Article Notice – Students Awareness And Utilization Of Educational Broadcasts To Learn In Ogbomoso, Oyo State

Again, I was reviewing the last year of issues for the Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education and I came across a couple of K-12 focused articles that I wanted to pass along.  The second…

Students Awareness and Utilization of Educational Broadcasts to Learn in Ogbomoso, Oyo State.

Charles Olubode OLUMORIN
Musiliu Adekola ADEROJU
Amos Ochayi ONOJAH

Radio and Television are broadcast media meant to disseminate audio and video signal, messages, information or programs to wide range of audience. Radio and television are already playing a role in educating the populace non-formally through various educational channels and programs, but there is significant potential to capitalize on their ability to enhance development and learning curriculum content among secondary school students. This study: 1) Find out the awareness of educational radio and television programs by secondary school students in Ogbomoso 2) Investigate secondary school students access to educational radio and television programs in Ogbomoso and 3) Investigate problems militating against students’ use of educational radio and television programs for learning. Questionnaire was used as instrument to elicit responses from 100 secondary school students on their awareness-on and access to seven educational radio and television programs. The findings revealed that the students were not aware of the educational radio and television programs even though they have access to it. The study recommends that teachers in secondary schools should include educational broadcasts as forms of stimulus variation that they could apply to their classes and educational programs producers on both radio and television should create enough awareness about the programs to enable students follow the programs at appropriate time.

KEYWORDS: Educational radio and television programs, Multichoice (DSTV), Startimes, educational broadcasts.

DOI : 10.17718/tojde.445122

Article Notice – Online Learning And High School Students: A Cultural Perspective

I was reviewing the last year of issues for the Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education and I came across a couple of K-12 focused articles that I wanted to pass along.  The first…

Online Learning and High School Students: A Cultural Perspective

Yafes CAN

The purpose of this study is to investigate the insights of high school students regarding their online learning experiences in the margin of cultural considerations. The study was designed in a qualitative pattern. The data were collected through a questionnaire including eight open ended questions along with demographics. A total of 30 high school students enrolled in an online learning environment participated in this study. The findings revealed that the majority of the students benefited from online discussion activities, as well as posed numerous suggestions. They found it safe to express their opinions due to the feeling of peer and teacher presence. Students reported that one of the primary boundaries was the lack of self-confidence to share and the visibility of their postings by the others. When compared to in-classroom discussion activities, online discussions were found to be more flexible for sharing ideas freely without any pressure. Implications were discussed for further research.

KEYWORDS: Online learning, high school students, culture, qualitative study.

DOI : 10.17718/tojde.471909

Next Page »

Blog at