We’re at an interesting moment in the history of online education. Nonprofit providers like The Virtual High School (VHS) have proven that high-quality courses can be effectively delivered by skilled teachers online. This innovation has increased access to critical educational options and valuable enrichment for hundreds of thousands of students.

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Concurrently, profit-motivated players have offered online courses of questionable quality and drawn off funding from schools that are already financially stretched. Schools are left facing the challenge of sorting out the good from the bad. Sadly, many states have imposed indiscriminate barriers to keep out the undesirable online providers. These barriers make it almost impossible for high-quality national non-profit organizations to reach more students.

This isn’t a new problem. States have been putting up barriers, such as requiring locally-certified teachers for every class taught within their borders, for decades. This broad-brush approach to restricting online education is making it difficult for legitimate providers to do what they set out to do: provide new and innovative learning opportunities to all students who could benefit.

About the Author:

Dr. Linda G. Roberts is a member of the VHS Board of Directors and is best known as the former Director of the U.S. Department of Educational Technology and for her role as the Secretary of Education’s Special Adviser on Technology, both under the Clinton Administration. A former elementary school teacher, university professor, and Academic Dean, Roberts’ illustrious career includes developing our nation’s first National Technology Plan, launching five new technology programs (including the Technology Innovation Challenge Grants) for the Clinton Administration, and increasing the federal technology budget.

Chuck Olson is Chairman of the Board at VHS. He has over 30 years of executive experience in product vision, development, and business development strategy in educational technology. Olson co-founded and is a partner at LTGO; growing ed tech development companies, building award-winning products, and establishing partnerships for firms such as Scholastic, HMH, Discovery Education, McGraw Hill, Cengage, and others.