Today’s Star Ledger features an opinion piece titled “State Has Virtually No Reason to not Give Virtual Charter Schools a Shot.”
But that’s inaccurate. There are lots of reasons for us to avoid so-called virtual charter schools. In the case of what’s being proposed for NJ:
• A virtual charter school would drain resources from neighborhood schools across the state, with 90% of per-pupil funds winding up in the hands of for-profit charter operator K12 – even though their per-pupil costs are lower than those of the real schools.
• K12 is the for-profit charter school management company set to manage NJ’s first virtual charter. They have operated in other (lower-achieving) states, but have cultivated a checkered past that, in addition to not delivering outcomes for students and parents, includes numerous transgressions including fiscal mismanagement, theft, and insider trading!
• Virtual charters are NOT LEGAL in New Jersey. Acting Commissioner Cerf would like to change that, of course, and intends to do so by making changes to charter school regulations, avoiding all of that pesky democracy.
New Jersey should continue to build on its excellent public schools, where “what works” can be found in abundance. Wondering aloud whether there are reasons to avoid virtual charter schools should be a brief exercise, because the reasons are plain as day.
It should be noted that the author of the piece, Michael Horn, is a well-known educational technologist working within the fold of the Gates Foundation. He is known for his “disruptive innovation” approach, which coincidentally favors many facets of the fake education reform movement. He’s got a MBA from Harvard (classic fake reformer – business, not education credentials) and lives in California (but knows what NJ needs). He’s a rock star in the world of educational technology, and you can see why – all of those tasty tax dollars would look pretty good in the hands of for-profit technology companies. Even if they aren’t really that innovative or special after all.
If you think this all sounds pretty lousy, you can do something about it. The ever-vigilant Save Our Schools NJ has a petition that you can sign, opposing Acting Commissioner Cerf’s attempt to change charter school regulations in NJ.
You can sign it here:
Reject Destructive Changes to New Jersey’s Charter School Regulations!
Want to know more about the threat virtual charter schools pose? Our own Jersey Jazzman will sing you a sad, sad, song. Oh, and then there’s that whole problem with students cheating online. What, you’ve never heard of collaborative cheating?
But no, no reason not to try these virtual charters. Right guys?