Friday, May 20, 2016

Agora Cyber, ECOT, and thoughts on virtual schools

Two stories came out this week, one from Pennsylvania and one from Ohio related to virtual schooling (cyber schooling in PA).

In Pennsylvania, Agora is in trouble with the PA Dept of Education over accurate data.

In Ohio, ECOT is being questioned by the the Dept. of Ed in Ohio about recording of attendance (which equals funding).

Recently, K12 in their quarterly report announcement bragged about a 289 basis point increase in retention rates. It is unusual because it is an investment term and they are, in essence, describing students in terms of investments. One basis point is the equivalent of 1/100th of a percentage, meaning 289 basis points equals 2.89% increase. I guess 289 sounds better and larger than 2.89%. Now, if they are serving over 100,000 students, 289 (or 2.89%) is a decent increase until one remembers how many students are leaving annually (estimated around 35%, or 3500 basis points, to 50%, or 5,000 basis points). That creates a different perspective doesn't it.

I also did a search (multiple searches really) in an effort to try and find success stories related to virtual schooling (other than those put out by the schools themselves). Interestingly, I could not find one.

Where are the success stories?

I'm keeping the faith in virtual schooling but the light is dimming.

Perhaps now we can quit trying to rearrange the deck chairs and create a radically different model.


  1. Another good post, Houston. I told a parent just yesterday that I'm about ready to call this virtual education model a failed experiment. I'm trying to keep the faith, but some days it is oh-so-hard!

  2. Thanks Terri. It's when "some days" turns into "most days" that the inevitable begins.