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Aurora Institute


NACSA Viewpoint: Authorizing Online Learning

Author(s): Susan Patrick, Tom Vander Ark

Organization(s): National Association of Charter School Authorizers

Issue(s): State Policy, Modernize and Diversify the Educator-Leader Workforce, Fund Innovation

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Online learning is growing by 40% annually and creating new full- and part-time options for students and families. However, most charter school legislation, drafted in the early 1990s, is not inclusive to online learning opportunities. This paper addresses 3 key questions that state policymakers and authorizers need to answer:

  • Who will operate and authorize online schools?
  • How will students be enrolled?
  • How will online schools be funded?

After framing these questions, authors Susan Patrick and Tom Vander Ark provide advice on innovation and the provision of high-quality online learning programs.