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Interviews with news makers and discussion of topics important to Southwest Michigan. Subscribe to the podcast through Apple itunes and Google. Segments of interview are heard in WestSouthwest Brief during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

WSW: Report Calls For Slowing Growth Of "Virtual Schools"


A Western Michigan University researcher is the co-author of a new study that calls for slowing the growth of online schools. 

Western Professor of Evaluation, Measurement and Research Gary Miron says the study looks at schools, not individual classrooms or programs within districts.

The study finds that students in “blended learning” and full-time virtual schools were behind students in traditional public schools. Miron says one surprising finding is that students in the “blended learning” environments had results that were slightly worse than students who were in online only settings.

The study examines measures such as test scores, graduation rates and attrition. Miron says the findings of the study are not surprising because other reports have found similar results. What he says is surprising is that nothing has been done about it. 

Interview with Gary Miron - web version

The report makes a series of recommendations, including slowing the growth in the number and size of online schools. Miron says there should be a moratorium on new online schools. He says the companies that launch new virtual schools are operating with little oversight.

Miron says the report should not be seen as a criticism of learning online. He says many teachers and district are successfully integrating online material into classrooms. Miron says school consolidation may make virtual education more attractive. But he says it also requires making sure that students are able to work independently.

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.
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