Virtual School Policy
by Mark Sivy
Policy has and is playing an important role in the adoption and evolution of virtual schools. Fulton and Kober (2002) recommend that during the process of designing and developing virtual school policy, policymakers should develop indicators that not only can be used to guide virtual schools, but that can also be used in the evaluation of virtual education.
Based upon the Digital Learning Council’s 2011 Digital Learning Now! Roadmap for Reform report, policy should address and support student success, the availability of quality learning options, and a digital learning infrastructure. Student success can be facilitated by ensuring equal access, removing access barriers, personalizing learning, and cultivating learning achievement and advancement (Digital Learning Council, 2011; Rice, 2009). In terms of quality learning options, considerations must be made for high quality content, instruction, choices, programs and interactions (Digital Learning Council, 2011). This involves upholding the rigor of said elements and establishing and maintaining a means of assessment and accountability. Finally, digital learning infrastructure focuses on the virtual school’s underpinnings and the factors that contribute to sustainability. These include funding, stakeholder input, technology infrastructure and its reliability, support, training, research, and evaluation (Digital Learning Council, 2011; Rice, 2009).
Reflection Point – “Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.” ~Ronald Reagan
Digital Learning Council. (2011). Digital learning now! Roadmap for reform.
Fulton, K. & Kober, N. (2002). Preserving principles of public education in an online world: What policymakers should be asking about virtual schools. Center on Education Policy Report.
Rice, K. (2009). Priorities in k-12 distance education: A Delphi study examining multiple perspectives on policy, practice, and research. Educational Technology & Society 12(3), 163-177.