This morning’s editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer gets it right on the state Board of Education’s plan to approve two new “virtual” charter schools. The central message: “Not so fast!”
Charters were seen initially as a chance to be “laboratories” for public education, as places to cultivate innovations that could be used in conventional schools. But too many charter advocates have viewed them as “alternative” schools, almost private schools funded by the public. Now that there’s no limit on the number of charter schools North Carolina can have, Republicans seem inclined to invite an almost unlimited number to open without knowing whether they’re succeeding.
The state needs to more closely oversee and evaluate the charters that exist before going in to the Brave New World of online-only charters.
The N&O’s conclusion is pretty self-evident — especially if you’ve read any of NC Policy Watch’s reporting on the scoundrels at the for-profit virtual charter company, K12, Inc. But if you have any doubts, check out this in-depth report from earlier this year by a team of experts at the National Education Policy Center. According to the authors:
“Despite considerable enthusiasm for virtual education in some quarters, there is little credible research to support virtual schools’ practices or to justify ongoing calls for ever-greater expansion.”