CRPE launches new study on the costs of blended learning in K-12 schools

CRPE launches new study on the costs of blended learning in K-12 schools

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) has received a $500,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study the financial and resource allocation implications of blended learning models.

Led by Director Robin Lake and Research Director Dr. Betheny Gross, CRPE will analyze the financials of 30 K-12 blended learning schools, including schools funded through the Next Generation Learning Challenges, a Gates-funded competition to promote college readiness and completion and education technology.

Blended learning combines online and face-to-face instruction, allowing students to master content at their own pace and teachers to track progress and tailor lessons accordingly. There is tremendous interest nationally in its promise to dramatically customize and improve student learning by deploying technology and instructional resources in new ways. Understanding how schools can use technology, dollars, and teacher time in innovative ways will be key to the continued expansion and success of blended learning models.

CRPE will answer questions critical to the field, including:

  • How much does it cost to start and expand blended learning schools?
  • How can blended learning help use school funding more productively than traditional school models?
  • Which blended learning financial models are most cost-efficient and more financially sustainable than others?

Building on prior work of other researchers, CRPE will develop an expenditure framework to capture traditional school accounting classifications as well as those categories unique to blended learning models, such as technology and professional development.

The 18-month study will help remove major barriers to innovation by providing key stakeholders with timely analysis and knowledge management about how blended learning model cost structures differ from each other and from traditional school funding models. Schools and districts will be able to analyze and adapt examples of scalable school models and their associated costs, while policymakers will learn about policies that promote or hinder innovation.

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