Alternative and online schools need more oversight, state audit says
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
The Oregon Department of Education does not do a good enough job of monitoring alternative schools and programs and online schools, according to a state audit.
Alternative programs and schools and online schools account for roughly 10 percent of Oregon public high school enrollment, according to a report by the Secretary of State Audits Division. The majority of students in these programs tend to be academically at-risk, performing poorly on most education statistics and making up nearly half the state’s dropouts, the audit said.
District reports to ODE on the effectiveness of their alternative and online schools vary widely in detail. ODE’s incomplete data makes it impossible for proper oversight and support, according to the audit. Improving data collection and analysis of these programs would improve education results and help lift Oregon’s 75 percent graduation rate, the 48th lowest in the country, the audit said.
The audit concluded ODE should do more to improve alternative and online education, and it points to the accountability measures in a half-dozen other states as examples.
Acting Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Colt Gill, in a letter attached to the report, agrees with the recommendations and said ODE is working on better data systems and reporting.