Regulators Are Catching Up to Virtual Charter School Growth, But Fraud Persists

Virtual charter schools and blended programs have continued to grow in American secondary education. In the 2017-18 school year, just under 300,000 learners were enrolled in full-time remote programs, while 133,000 studied in a blended program. While the sector long enjoyed less oversight and public attention than brick-and-mortar counterparts, that has begun to change in the past few years. But despite this increased regulation, instances of fraud have increased in the sector.

In December, the Education Commission of the States (ECS) published a rundown of state legislation passed between 2017 and 2019 relating to virtual charter schools. (ECS is a non-partisan federally-mandated group that tracks education policy at the state level.)

According to the report authored by Ben Erwin, 106 bills were introduced in 36 different state capitols in the past three years. Of these, 45 were enacted.

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