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NEPC’s May Education Interview of the Month Podcast Explores Virtual Schools

BOULDER, CO (May 17, 2018) – In May’s NEPC Education Interview of the MonthGreg Smith discusses research regarding virtual schools and their growing impact on the American educational landscape with Michael Barbour of Touro University California and Bryan Mann of the University of Alabama.

Issues with virtual schools include funding formulas that disadvantage brick and mortar schools because virtual schools tend to educate fewer at-risk, special education, and free- and reduced-lunch students. 

Another concern is teacher preparation and the lack of formal requirements for professional development. In teacher prep programs, they note, the most valuable experience students often get is their field placement, which does not happen with the vast majority of online school teachers.

Although full-time virtual schools have tended to perform poorly compared with brick and mortar schools, there has been very little regulatory oversight or legislation designed to increase accountability. Professors Barbour and Mann conclude that virtual education clearly needs to be more studied and regulated than it currently is. 

Don’t worry if you missed a month. All NEPC Education Interview of the Month podcasts are archived on the NEPC website and can be found here

This concludes our NEPC Education Interview of the Month series for the academic year, but please tune in next September for more smart, engaging conversations about education policy.

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: