One of the hallmarks of a fundamental change to an educational system is if a practice, policy, idea, or reform gets “institutionalized” into the typical modes of schooling. In other words, this new idea becomes so commonplace that it seems like it just has to be a part of the institution. Researchers like David Tyack and Larry Cuban have shown things like “blackboards” and “junior high schools” have endured the reform timeline. A big question for cyber charter schools and K-12 online learning (and charter schools in general) is: Do they have the staying power to becoming institutionalized? The history of technology and education make the prospects for online learning to be bleak, and stories like this do not help:
Will they become institutionalized? Will they just become “add ons” in certain districts? Or will they go away entirely? Only time will tell. And more research is needed to decide if they are worth having.