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.
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.