Today the National Education Policy Center released a study, Financing Online Education and Virtual Schooling, A Guide for Policymakers and Advocates, that established that there is little to no research to determine the profit cyber charters are realizing or to determine whether they are effective:
The literature on financing online education and virtual schooling (OE/VS) is, at best, sparse and inconsistent. There exists little, if any, credible peer-reviewed analysis of the costs and benefits of online education alternatives. The literature that does exist has been produced mostly by policy advocacy organizations, and most of this literature has focused specifically on the rate at which governments subsidize OE/VS alternatives, not on analysis of actual costs, cost-benefits, or cost-effectiveness.
As a result, legislation establishing funding for these schools is being written in the dark. The authors offer new finance policies as well as model legislation. The review was conducted by Bruce D. Baker, Rutgers University and Jutsin Bathon, University of Kentucky and supported by a grant from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. Read the entire study on the NEPC site.