The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) released today “Authorizing Online Learning,” a Viewpoint article by iNACOL President and CEO Susan Patrick and Chair Tom Vander Ark that targets key questions around authorization, enrollment and funding of online learning.
Patrick points to online learning as an important driver in the shift from print to digital learning that is no longer dependent on traditional district-operated schools. The paper proposes that all students statewide should have access to to full- or part-time online learning without limits in regards to geographic location, number of operators or performance standards.
The authors also state that barriers to enrollment, such as enrollment caps, geographic limits, district limitations or last educational experience, should be eliminated in order to allow all students access and opportunity to learning online.
Online learning is expected to reduce costs associated with facilities, transportation and administration, making individual course offerings cheaper. The paper suggests that virtual schools should be recognized as Local Education Agencies (LEA) in order to provide funding that gives optimal students choice, flexibility and learning potential. The authors add that compentency-based funding models could encourage schools to accelerate progress among struggling students.
Innovative online programs offer differentiated and individualized instruction that incentivizes students to excel at a pace best-suited for the individual.
By bringing these three components – authorization, enrollment and funding – together, online and blended learning environments can provide students access to the best education and teachers without with fewer barriers and expenses to learning.
Tom Vander Ark also published a Viewpoint article on “Differentiated Charter Authorizing Strategies for Innovation, Scale, and Quality,” which asks states to authorize laws that reflect the realities of charter schools and emerging opportunities today.
Click here to download the full NACSA Viewpoint article, “Authorizing Online Learning.”