In North Carolina, Virtual Charter Schools Under Scrutiny

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Online charter schools have been expanding enrollment across the U.S. More than 65,000 students now attend one. Like their concrete counterparts, virtual charters are publicly funded, but privately run. And students access their teachers and lessons almost entirely online.

Last year, virtual charter schools collected more than $1 billion in taxpayer money. Most of it went to the two for-profit companies that operate the majority of virtual charter schools in the U.S. But reports show virtual charter schools have been plagued by poor student outcomes and lawsuits.

Online charter advocates promised things would go differently North Carolina. But as Jess Clark (@jessclarkNC) of Here & Now contributor WUNC reports, the schools’ first year of testing shows their students had the lowest academic growth in the state.

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