Keeping Pace 2011 Trend 5: State virtual schools diverging into two tiers

In preparation for the release of Keeping Pace 2011 on November 8, we are sharing nine trends identified during our research and the writing of the report. To see the list of trends as it grows over these two weeks, please visit: Trend #5: State virtual schools are dividing into two tiers—those with significant impact and those without— largely based on funding model.

While 40 states have a state virtual school or similar state-led initiative, these programs are increasingly falling into two divergent categories: those that are sustainably funded at a level to have a real impact on their states, and those that do not have a level of reliable support. States in the former category include Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Montana, Idaho, and Alabama. Other state programs are in decline, mostly due to funding cuts. These include programs in Maryland, Missouri, and California. Nonetheless, all state virtual schools together accounted for 536,000 course enrollments (one student taking one semester-long course) in SY 2010-11, an annual increase of 19%.