Indiana officials call for a crackdown on ‘too big to fail’ virtual schools

December 13, 2018

In a 7-1 vote, the Indiana State Board of Education recommended that state lawmakers impose stricter rules on virtual charter school and the agencies that oversee them. The proposed rules would stop school districts from overseeing virtual schools, eliminate a fee structure, and limit the growth of new and chronically underperforming virtual schools.

Nearly 10 years after virtual charter schools launched in Indiana, the fast-growing sector could face its first set of meaningful regulations aimed at cracking down on some of the state’s most problematic online schools.

In a 7-1 vote Wednesday, the Indiana State Board of Education recommended that state lawmakers impose stricter rules on virtual charter school and the agencies that oversee them. The proposed rules would stop school districts from overseeing virtual schools, eliminate a fee structure that officials say disincentivizes oversight agencies from intervening in struggling schools, and limit the growth of new and chronically underperforming virtual schools.

The recommendations would most affect two virtual charter schools that have been among Indiana’s largest and lowest-performing online schools: Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy, which are overseen by the small Daleville school district.