Wisconsin DPI to review virtual schools

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OSHKOSH (AP) — The state plans to review Wisconsin virtual schools during this academic year.

The number of virtual schools increased from 25 to 28 this year, and enrollment rose 38 percent to nearly 6,800 students.

Department of Public Instruction spokesman Patrick Gasper says the study was prompted by the increase and questions the state receives about the schools’ operation.

Gasper says they plan to contact district administrators, principals, teachers, parents, charter school board members and others. Local school boards oversee virtual schools.

John Jacobs is director of the Wisconsin eSchool Network, which includes seven virtual schools. He hopes the study recognizes there’s no “cookie-cutter” approach to digital learning.

A Gannett Wisconsin Media investigation revealed significant achievement gaps between students in virtual schools and those in traditional brick-and-mortar schools.