As public schools across the nation continue to feel the budget squeeze, virtual, for-profit schools are spending vast amounts of public funds to attract students. That’s according to an analysis by USA Today, which finds that the ten largest for-profit operators have spent more than $90 million an ads since 2007. Kevin Welner, who directs the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado, told USA Today that this degree of spending “will put immense pressure on other schools to compete by diverting similar amounts of money to advertising.”
Scrutiny into virtual schools has been increasing. In addition to questions over public funding and the influence wielded by privateers who support these schools, studies have found that students who participated in virtual schooling programs were more likely to fall behind in reading and math, graduate late, and move between schools or drop out altogether at a rate significantly higher than students who attended traditional schools.