Growth and questions prompt DPI review of virtual schools

Emrollment up 38 percent

Published On: Oct 19 2012 11:26:51 AM CDT   Updated On: Oct 19 2012 11:27:00 AM CDT
OSHKOSH, Wis. -

The state plans to review Wisconsin virtual schools during this academic year.

The number of virtual schools increased from 25 to 28 this year, and enrollment rose 38 percent to nearly 6,800 students.

Department of Public Instruction spokesman Patrick Gasper told the Oshkosh Northwestern the study was prompted by the increase and questions the state receives about the schools' operation.

Gasper said they plan to contact district administrators, principals, teachers, parents, charter school board members and others. Local school boards oversee virtual schools.

John Jacobs is director of the Wisconsin eSchool Network, which includes seven virtual schools. He said he hopes the study recognizes there's no "cookie-cutter" approach to digital learning.

A Gannett Wisconsin Media investigation revealed significant achievement gaps between students in virtual schools and those in traditional brick-and-mortar schools.