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Audit shows problems with some online education programs

By Mary Richards | Posted - Feb 26th, 2014 @ 8:58am



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SALT LAKE CITY — A new audit finds big problems with some online education programs in Utah schools.

The troubles include things like students listed as full-time when they really aren’t, poor oversight, rules ignored or rules missing, and taking teachers’ word for it that they have passed background checks.

The audit was done by the State Office of Education after receiving complaints at various online or distance-learning education programs at some charter schools and some school districts.

Some schools are now on a warning status because of what the audit found, according to Mark Peterson of the board of education.

"We need to fix the rules dealing with online education that are a little loose," he said. "And we need our charter schools and school districts to make sure that they are doing due diligence following the money and looking after the students."

"What we are looking for here is, is the funding going to serve the student? Is the student data being handled safely and securely? Is the student being taught by qualified educators who are working in their area of expertise? And does the curriculum match state standards?" Peterson said.

The audit found that districts or schools that managed themselves did a better job than those that contracted outside.

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