Thanks to then-senator and now Education commissioner Johnny Key, Arkansas vastly expanded money shipped to on-line education through the Arkansas Virtual Academy. Other efforts are underway to transfer still more state foundation aid to on-line instruction.

Just because something is digital doesn’t mean it’s better.

Check this from Washington Monthly. It’s about a new study that suggests some additional regulation should be in order for on-line charter schools.

Students who attend online charter schools – and receive no instruction from an in-person teacher – tend to do much worse than their peers in bricks-and-mortar schools, according to new research released Tuesday.

Some students in online-only schools showed academic results in math that were the equivalent of what would be expected if a student skipped 180 days of school – virtually a full year’s worth of classes. In reading, the deficiency was the equivalent of 72 days of school.

This new study, by the way, comes from an organization at Stanford University whose work is often cited by the “reformers” pushing for charter schools, vouchers and other deconstruction of the conventional public school system.

The on-line charters have proved profitable to the private outfits that tend to be behind the veils that draw public money.