Review finds Fordham's latest digital learning report makes unproven claims
No evidence exists to support proposed steps to lessen restrictions at the state level for a free market for K-12 online learning.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (March 22, 2012) –A recent report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute provided steps to move the governance of K-12 online learning from the local district level to the less restrictive state level and to create a free market for corporate innovation in K-12 online learning. A new review of that report found no evidence to support proposed changes in K-12 online learning policy.
The report, Overcoming the Governance Challenge in K-12 Online Learning, the fifth and final paper in the Fordham Institute's series examining digital learning policy, was reviewed for the Think Twice think thank review project by Michael K. Barbour, a Wayne State University (Michigan) professor who specializes in digital learning. The review was produced by the National Education Policy Center with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Barbour found that its central premise—that K-12 online learning will lead to increased student achievement—lacks support. Further, Barbour observed that the body of research to date suggests that there is no learning advantage for virtual schools.
Additionally, Barbour found no evidence was presented to support the wisdom or efficacy of centralizing governance at the state level or that moving to a market model would be a superior, productive or economical practice.
He concludes, "It is an advocacy document largely supported by like-minded, opinion-based literature, designed to advance an ideological agenda."
Find Michael Barbour's review on the Great Lakes Center website at:
Find Overcoming the Governance Challenge in K-12 Online Learning, by John E. Chubb on the web at:
Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policy makers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible in part by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
The review is also available on the National Education Policy Center website at:
The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.