Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Forgive my polemic title. I couldn't help it. Mix lax state standards, private enterprise, profit motive, unsupervised children, and normal adolescent behavior and I struggle to find a reasonable expectation of education benefit. It seems that states are finally growing skeptical as well. After the recent pushes to authorize as many new charter schools as possible, we have sense the creation and growth of virtual charter schools. Pennysylvania now boasts 16 virtual charter schools. My quick look indicates that at least 9 of the 16 virtual schools are in the state's most troubled districts. These 9 districts are predominantly minority, predominantly poor, and have tended to have high rates of student discipline. While these schools may be the only current option for some children who are expelled from school or experiencing unique challenges, they are not necessarily a good option. A recent report shows that while roughly have of the nation's regular public schools made adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind, only one out of four virtual charter schools did.
Maybe the gig is finally up. Chicago, Maine, and North Carolina all recently pulled the plug or are considering pulling the plug on virtual charter schools.
For those interested in following the debate in real time should follow the news in Maine.
I would expect more states and jurisdictions to follow suit soon.