In light of today’s Policy Watch report on the shaky membership numbers reported for N.C.’s virtual charters in the first three months—particularly given the news that public funding diverted to these schools will not be returned despite the dropouts—the N.C. Association of Educators offered a statement this afternoon chiding the state’s virtual charter pilot program.
“When North Carolina is ranked 46th in the country in per-pupil spending, we should not be siphoning money from our public schools and sending it to out-of-state companies,” NCAE President Rodney Ellis said in a statement to Policy Watch Thursday.
“If we’re serious about every child’s future, we have to get serious about what works – modern textbooks and technology at public schools, more one-on-one interaction between students and teachers, and a quality and caring teacher in front of the classroom.”
NCAE acts as an advocacy organization for teachers and public school employees.
The program includes two schools, N.C. Connections Academy and Virtual Academy, both run by for-profit education companies but receiving more than $14 million this year from the state to offer online education for students in kindergarten through high school. Almost 700 students have withdrawn from the schools in the first three months of this academic year.
And, as we noted today, such online charters have been besieged by complaints that their students lag behind their traditional school peers in terms of academic performance. Read a rather blistering Stanford University report on virtual charter schools from last fall.