Michigan ranks second in U.S. for online learning

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LANSING – Two years after Michigan gained national attention as the first state in the nation to require online learning as a requirement for high school graduation, the state now is being recognized as second in the nation for its online learning policy and practice.

“In a world that demands knowledge workers, we are giving our students and our state a competitive advantage when it comes to preparing for the 21st century economy,” said Governor Jennifer Granholm. “This national ranking reinforces Michigan’s vision for innovation and our commitment to use leading-edge delivery methods to ensure our students are ready for higher education and today’s workplace.”

The Center for Digital Education (CDE) evaluated the overall landscape of online learning and compiled state rankings to reflect the vision, policies, programs and strategies that states have deployed around online learning in an effort to transform their academic environment to meet student needs.

“Michigan has provided significant leadership for the rest of the nation in online learning and is routinely looked to as a pioneer,” said Marina Leight, director of the Center for Digital Education. “The creation of the Michigan Virtual, Michigan LearnPort and the nation’s first high school graduation requirement for online learning are all significant milestones that demonstrate Michigan’s leadership position in this area.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan said Michigan schools need to use a variety of teaching methods to reach every student.

“Online learning can provide a powerful alternative for students who have a need for greater flexibility with their education due to individual learning styles, employment commitments and comfort with traditional school environments,” Flanagan said. “There is a significant potential to expand the use of online learning as a practical strategy to help students stay in school and graduate.”

Michigan’s ranking reflects the growth of Michigan Virtual, which provides online courses to more than 500 schools throughout the state. Since its inception in 2000, Michigan Virtual has recorded more than 45,000 online course enrollments in subjects ranging from Algebra to Mandarin Chinese and AP Physics. Accredited in 2005, Michigan Virtual is one of the largest virtual schools in the nation.

“This national ranking helps to underscore the importance of the work we have been doing for the last 10 years,” said Jamey Fitzpatrick, president and CEO of Michigan Virtual, the parent company of Michigan Virtual and Michigan LearnPort. “I am extremely proud of our accomplishments as a state.”

In 2006, Michigan became the first state in the nation to require students to successfully complete an online course or learning experience as part of the Michigan Merit Curriculum. This action was part of a comprehensive effort to revamp Michigan’s high school graduation requirements beginning with the graduating class of 2011.

The Center for Digital Education is a national research and advisory institute for K-12 and higher education technology. The CDE conducted its first review of state policies and programs to determine the status of online learning across the U.S. This review and state ranking was produced in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers and the North American Council for Online Learning. The first ever national rankings are as follows:

  1. Florida
  2. Michigan
  3. Idaho
  4. Arkansas
  5. Louisiana
  6. New Mexico
  7. West Virginia
  8. North Carolina
  9. Minnesota
  10. Hawaii
  11. Ohio
  12. Virginia
  13. Illinois
  14. Colorado
  15. Oklahoma
  16. South Dakota
  17. South Carolina
  18. Missouri
  19. Kentucky
  20. Iowa
  21. Massachusetts
  22. Kansas
  23. Alabama
  24. Maryland
  25. Nevada
  26. Georgia
  27. Alaska
  28. Washington
  29. Wyoming
  30. Oregon
  31. North Dakota
  32. Mississippi
  33. Utah
  34. Pennsylvania
  35. Indiana
  36. New Hampshire
  37. Wisconsin
  38. Arizona
  39. Montana
  40. Texas
  41. Vermont
  42. Rhode Island
  43. New Jersey
  44. Delaware
  45. Tennessee
  46. Nebraska
  47. New York
  48. Connecticut
  49. California
  50. Maine

For more information on the Center for Digital Technology visit


About Michigan Virtual

Michigan Virtual is a nonprofit educational organization that is leading and collaborating to build learning environments for tomorrow. Driven by student success, we have a strong record of supporting Michigan education that spans more than two decades. While many know us for our research-based, quality online learning options for students and professional development for educators, we also do a great deal of work behind the scenes to conduct original research, test innovations in learning, and provide consulting partnerships to promote effective practices. Education is changing faster than ever. Discover new models and resources to move learning forward at