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Published by: National Education Policy Center on Jul 24, 2012
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U
NDERSTANDING AND
I
MPROVING
 F
ULL
-T
IME
 V 
IRTUAL
S
CHOOLS
 
 A 
 
S
TUDY OF
S
TUDENT
C
HARACTERISTICS
,S
CHOOL
F
INANCE
,
AND
S
CHOOL
P
ERFORMANCE
 
IN
S
CHOOLS
O
PERATED BY 
K12
 
I
NC
.
Gary Miron and Jessica L. Urschel 
Evaluation, Planning, and Policy Analysisand Western Michigan UniversityJuly 2012
National Education Policy Center
School of Education, University of Colorado BoulderBoulder, CO 80309-0249Telephone: (802) 383-0058Email: NEPC@colorado.eduhttp://nepc.colorado.edu
 
 
http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/safe-at-school
 2 
of 49
 
 
Kevin Welner
 Project Director
William Mathis
 Managing Director
Erik Gunn
 Managing Editor
Briefs published by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) are blind peer-reviewed by members of the Editorial Review Board. Visit http://nepc.colorado.edu to find all of these briefs. For information onthe editorial board and its members, visit: http://nepc.colorado.edu/editorial-board.Publishing Director:
 Alex Molnar
 
Suggested Citation:
Miron, G. & Urschel, J.L. (2012).
Understanding and Improving Full-Time Virtual Schools: A Study of  Student Characteristics, School Finance, and School Performance in Schools Operated by K12 Inc.
 Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved [date] fromhttp://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/understanding-improving-virtual.
This material is provided free of cost to NEPC's readers, who may make non-commercial use of the material as long as NEPC and its author(s) are credited as the source. For inquiries about commercial use, please contact NEPC at nepc@colorado.edu.
 
 
 
http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/understanding-improving-virtual
i
of 
 viii
Table of Contents
Executive Summary................................................................................... iiIntroduction and Conceptual Framework .................................................... 1
Growth and Expansion of Virtual Schools ............................................................ 1 Arguments for and Against Virtual Schools .......................................................... 3Research Questions Addressed in this Report ......................................................8
Methods and Data Sources ......................................................................... 8
Limitations .......................................................................................................... 9
Student Characteristics ............................................................................. 11
Race-Ethnicity .................................................................................................... 11FRL, Special Education, and English Language Learner Status........................... 12Enrollment by Grade Level ................................................................................ 13
 Analysis of School Revenues and Expenditures.......................................... 15
Revenues ........................................................................................................... 16Expenditures ..................................................................................................... 18Cost Advantages and Disadvantages for Full-Time Virtual Schools ..................... 26
School Performance Data ......................................................................... 29
 Adequate Yearly Progress and State Ratings Assigned to K12 Schools................. 30Performance on State Reading and Math Assessments, Grades 3-11 ................... 32Graduation Rates............................................................................................... 34Student Attrition. .............................................................................................. 35
Discussion and Conclusion ....................................................................... 36
 Answering our Research Questions .................................................................... 36Possible Explanations for Poor Performance of K12 Schools ............................... 38Recommendations for Policymakers ..................................................................40Questions for Future Research ........................................................................... 42Conclusion ........................................................................................................ 44
List of Appendices
(Six appendices containing detailed data are available as a separatedocument) .............................................................................................................
46Notes and References ............................................................................... 47

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