April 18, 2016

Gary Miron, (269) 599-7965, gary.miron@wmich.edu
Daniel J. Quinn, (517) 203-2940, dquinn@greatlakescenter.org

CRPE online charter school report could be useful to policymakers, review finds

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Apr. 18, 2016) — A study from the Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), an organization that often advocates for charter schools, attempted to provide an in-depth analysis of policy features across the states that allow for online charter schools. The report concluded that online charter schools should use a separate regulatory framework than brick-and-mortar charter schools. An academic review of the report finds that it potentially offers a solid contribution for policymaking.

Gary Miron, Western Michigan University, reviewed the report, The Policy Framework for Online Charter Schools, for the Think Twice think tank review project. Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), is funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

In his review of the report, Miron describes it as a well-organized description of policy features, and that the policy recommendations generally, but not always, follow well from the study's evidence.

Miron notes that the report appears to be one of three sponsored by the Walton Foundation. He says, "the three reports appear to be jointly coordinated and planned, although they were independently prepared and reported." Miron adds, "Together, they [the three reports] provide a comprehensive examination of online charter schools."

Despite this, he is critical of one recommendation from the report: that online schools should have more flexibility in limiting which students gain access. Instead, he recommends that policymakers ensure online schools spend more on instruction, in order to provide students with more support from qualified educators.

He concludes, "Overall, the detailed analyses of policy environments and the summary of problems in the online charter school sector included in this report should be useful to policymakers who are willing and able to pursue more restrictive oversight and increase accountability for online charter schools."

Find the review on the GLC website:

Find The Policy Framework for Online Charter Schools on the web:

The review can also be found on the NEPC website:

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & 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.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/