Last week, we got a firsthand look at the many ways in which students at East Village High School cheat on the district’s online credit recovery courses. A San Diego Unified spokesman dismissed claims that cheating occurs were merely “anecdotal.” Since then, more teachers and students have come forward with stories that suggest the problem is pervasive.

San Diego Unified and Grossmont Union are suing to shut down certain charter schools that offer online credit-recovery courses and independent study options, saying they’re illegally operating within their boundaries. Meanwhile, San Diego Unified is expanding its own versions of those programs, hoping to capitalize on the growing market for non-traditional education options and hold onto students who would otherwise leave.

If we discuss online learning without considering whether it helps students achieve what we expect them to, then we’re missing the point.