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Virtual schools: The changing landscape of K-12 education in the U.S.


Virtual schools are a growing phenomenon in k-12 education. School systems in almost every state in the United States offer some version of fully online or blended education. It is no longer far-fetched to conclude that if the current trend continues, virtual school enrollments will eclipse those of traditional brick-and-mortar k-12 institutions within the next 10 years. This paper examines some of the challenges and strengths of virtual schools, it offers questions to consider when deciding whether or not a virtual school option would be ideal, and it draws conclusions, which provide an outlook for the future of virtual schools in k-12 education.

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Correspondence to Ian N. Toppin.

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Toppin, I.N., Toppin, S.M. Virtual schools: The changing landscape of K-12 education in the U.S.. Educ Inf Technol 21, 1571–1581 (2016).

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Key words

  • Virtual schools
  • Cyber academies
  • Online education
  • K-12 education
  • Distance education
  • Educational administration