"Keeping Pace 2013 is now available! The 10th edition includes updated enrollment numbers, graphics, and policy information. Download the full report, scroll down for individualgraphics, or browse individual state profiles."
From the Preview by Mickey Ravenaugh and John Watson
The complexity of change is accelerating
"Ten years ago, the world we surveyed in Keeping Pace was contained within a few well-defined dimensions: there were state-led supplemental programs and virtual charter schools, and hardly ever the twain did meet. When we wrote nearly a decade ago that “Pennsylvania has experienced significant public conflict between cyber charter schools and school districts” while “Illinois has a centralized approach in which most online education activity is by the statewide virtual high school,” we covered most of the landscape as a whole. We envisioned more of the same expanding across the nation over time, and advocated for policy frameworks to ensure quality through growth along both dimensions.
"Nothing is quite so simple now, from the standpoint of either policy or practice. While there are some constants—for example, the strains in Pennsylvania continue, resulting in both annual legislative battles and a proliferation of district cyber programs—nearly every aspect of the online and blended landscape has become more complex, more interconnected, and more volatile. Providers have multiplied and diversified: yesterday’s virtual charter school operator is also today’s course vendor and blended learning consultant, while a few of the leading state virtual schools now eagerly serve full-time students in grades K-12. The image of the massively open and free holds a powerful lure (see our recent post about MOOCs). As customers, schools and districts want it all: a desire for a few AP or credit recovery courses quickly blossoms into an all-out smorgasbord of virtual, blended, part-time, full-time, and mobile offerings. Multiply this by tens of thousands of districts and all 50 states, and the difference that a decade makes is clear.
"It almost goes without saying that policy is still not keeping pace with practice in our field – how could it? At least in part because of the speed and complexity of online/blended learning development, state legislatures have moved in uneven bursts to create course choice programs, or build virtual options into their charter laws, and incent districts to create opportunities for students. Tackling the really big issues, such as equitable funding and true measures of quality, would mean looking at these same issues for all forms of education, and only a few states have been brave or unified enough to try."