Oklahoma adds more virtual charter schools, nearing a ‘saturation point’

capitol building in oklahoma
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Oklahoma, an early adopter in the virtual school space, is adding more virtual charter schools next year.

I’m interested to see how this move plays out since some officials in Oklahoma feel that virtual schooling may be reaching a ‘saturation point’ where everyone who wants to attend virtually is already doing so. The belief going forward is that students will shift between virtual programs based on who has a better marketing campaign–showing the dangers of schools competing as businesses in a marketplace rather than institutions of learning.

Around 5% of Oklahoma’s 700,000 students attend a virtual school, a significantly higher percentage than the national 1% average. Epic, the largest virtual charter school in Oklahoma, serves around 27,000 students across the state.

Virtual schools became wildly popular during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic but have seen steady declines in enrollment since then. How long they last, especially when the all-important test scores from these schools are lower than in traditional schools, remains to be seen.

As an advocate of virtual learning and as someone who works with a virtual academy, I hope that states continue to see the value of these programs to serve a particular student population and leave the test scores out of the equation.

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