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Mapping brick-and-mortar charter schools versus online schools in robust school choice states

As we wade into the 2018 legislative sessions, it’s important to remember a key takeaway from 2017: online schools are a valuable, important and sometimes the only school choice option for many families in rural America.

Last July, Andy Smarick, with the American Enterprise Institute, reminded us: “Don’t forget rural schools.” He noted a recent Wall Street Journal analysis showing rural counties are now worse off than inner cities in poverty, educational opportunity, male employment and a host of other measures, and rural communities are the least likely to have access to educational options. Smarick highlighted the wide gap in the number of charter schools located in urban vs. rural communities. “Of the approximately 7,000 total charter schools open today,” Smarick wrote, “our research showed that fewer than 1,000 are in rural areas, and only about 100 in remote rural communities.”

To determine how rural families are accessing public school choice options, our team recently completed a mapping project, where we marked the location of all brick-and-mortar charter schools from a given state on a map and also marked all of the addresses of students who are enrolled in online charter schools that partner with K12 online schools.

Read the full story by Jeff Kwitowski and Robbie Champion in EdChoice.

About The Author

Jeff Kwitowski

Jeff Kwitowski is Senior Vice President of Public Affairs & Policy Communications at Stride, Inc. Since 2003, he has been a central part of Stride’s public affairs team with a special focus on public policy and advocacy. Additionally, he has supported Stride’s state and federal government affairs efforts, working with policymakers and education leaders to develop and advocate for policy frameworks that expand school options, digital learning, and parent choice in education. He served as a member of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning’s Issues and Advocacy Committee, and participated in the national Digital Learning Now Initiative in developing policy frameworks and goals for advancement of digital learning. Prior to K12, he served as communications director and advisor to former U.S. Secretary of Education William J. Bennett and former U.S. Congressman and HUD Secretary Jack Kemp at Empower America, a Washington, DC-based public policy organization. He graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and History from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY.

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