Most of 16 Race to the Top finalist have lame online learning plans–and this is the best of the bunch. iNACOL posted a useful review.
FL is the best of a bad lot and they’re just coasting on Jeb’s leadership and still protect district enrollments by stopping the Internet at district boundaries (no statewide v-charters).
NC may have the best state v-school plan but no v-charters. KY was an early mover with a state virtual school but quashed innovation and competition. Both will make some most progress incorporating online resources into traditional classrooms (but they won’t save any money doing it).
NY, RI, and PA plan to launch v-highs (PA ignores existing operators). It’s such a bad idea for SEAs to try to develop and manage virtual schools–they can only do a mediocre job and dampen innovation and competition. States should authorize great operators and do everything they can to reduce barriers.
SC plans expansion of poorly funded SCVSP with a focus on STEM and PD. If they just funded v-charters adequately, they’d expand access to quality options.
The rest (CO, DE, GA, IL, DC, OH, LA, MA) are just embarrassingly bad with a nods toward online PD, a little credit-recovery, and a few more AP courses.
RttT and i3 plans were designed for districts not kids. This country has great online learning providers that, in spite of ridiculous restrictions are serving hundreds of thousands of students with high quality curriculum, strong supports, and efficient management systems. Connections Academy, K-12, KCDL, Apex, Kaplan and others are poised to expand and invest in a new generation of curriculum. I’m a huge Pastorek fan, but the LA state board just rejected proposals from three of these providers. This is a massively scaleable educational resource that will be almost completely excluded from ARRA investment. If we’re serious about doubling college completion rates, we need to encourage authorization of virtual charters and adoption of virtual courses.