Statewide Support for K-12 Online Learning Grows

States and districts have increased their support for online K-12 education programs. Twenty-five states now run statewide online initiatives, according to new research from the Center for Digital Education (CDE) at policy and research firm e.Republic. That's up from 15 states running such initiatives a year ago.

The research, underwritten by LMS provider Blackboard, was conducted through interviews with state departments of education representatives. It found that in addition to the 25 states with government-run programs, two states also have statewide online initiatives in place that are not run by the states themselves, and four additional states have plans to implement online learning programs.

"Online learning remains one of the most powerful and transformative mediums for U.S. education," said Marina Leight, vice president of education at the Center for Digital Education, in a statement released to coincide with the research. "This year's review of policy revealed some exciting changes among the states. We applaud the policymakers across the nation who are driving the creation of new programs, and commend the leaders with already-existing programs who continue to ensure online learning is a top priority."

CDE ranked individual state efforts based on "the vision, policies, programs and strategies they have deployed around online learning to transform their academic environments. Florida, with about 125,000 students attending virtual school, led off the list. Florida also experienced a 25 percent increase in online K-12 attendance in the last year.

The full top 10 for 2009 included:

  1. Florida
  2. South Carolina
  3. New Mexico
  4. Hawaii
  5. Michigan
  6. Louisiana
  7. Idaho
  8. Minnesota
  9. Oregon
  10. Arkansas

Further information about the report will be available at the Center for Digital Education's site here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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