Putting Education Reform To The Test

Explaining Florida’s Booming Online Academy

Florida Virtual School

Julie Young, president and CEO of the Florida Virtual School.

Education Week has a nice explainer on how the Florida Virtual School works, including shortcomings in the way the school is funded.

The piece also looks at school performance, referencing a Tampa Bay Times story that looked at whether any evidence exists that the school is out-performing district schools. Also worth noting is this follow-up, which shows how the school jiggered its Advanced Placement test results to a more PR-friendly figure.

The Education Week story notes that Florida Virtual is an unusual animal in the world of online education.

The school only receives funding for students who successfully complete a course. That provides incentives to actually teach students, but penalizes the school for students who withdraw from a class prior to completion.

In addition, the school turns millions in profit providing classes out-of-state, licensing curriculum and training educators in online education.

The results have pleased lawmakers. The Florida Legislature approved a bill this year that will make it easier for students to pick and choose which courses they take and open up online courses to more elementary schools students.

What’s been your experience with the Florida Virtual School? Did you, your children or students prefer taking classes online? What are the pros and cons?


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