Proposal ignores individual student progress, reasons why families choose this option
WASHINGTON – Today, PublicSchoolOptions.org issued the following response to a newly released policy proposal from the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), which paints a false picture of virtual education and the opportunity this public school option provides for families across the country.
The proposal critical of virtual charter schools contains no new information and only rehashes previously released flawed, one-sided data. The proposal fails to address several key factors calling into question the credibility if its data sources and the motives of the authors, organizations that claim to be dedicated to expanding school choice for parents and students. However, their conclusions and recommendations are contrary to any school choice advocate’s mission and threaten this school choice option.
STATEMENT FROM TILLIE ELVRUM, PUBLICSCHOOLOPTIONS.ORG PRESIDENT AND SCHOOL CHOICE ADVOCATE:
“As virtual school parents we know why we choose this option and why our students are succeeding. If parents didn’t choose these schools, they wouldn’t exist. It’s disappointing that this bureaucrat-led group is selling out their principals of protecting and increasing choice to the highest bidder while ignoring the parents they claim to empower. A credible policy proposal would assess individual students and seek out and respect the parent perspective. Until they do that, this proposal can’t be taken seriously.”
Proposal Ignores Parents
Parents of students in virtual charter schools were not part of the policy proposal or its conclusions, yet they are making the decision to use this important public school option for their children. Parents know their children better than bureaucrats and should be trusted to choose the option that works best for the child – whether that’s a traditional brick and mortar public school, public charter school, public virtual school, magnet school, etc.
When NAPCS/NACSA produces a proposal that ignores parents, parent choice is jeopardized – and trivialized.
Proposal Ignores Why Parents Choose Virtual Schools
There are many reasons why parents of public virtual school students choose these schools. Families in rural areas may choose virtual school because the closest public school is hours away. For others, a child may have suffered at the hands of bullies and can now learn in a safe, loving and confidence-building environment. For another family a child may be fighting cancer and unable to be near other children due to the risk of germs. Virtual school provides that child an opportunity to continue learning while fighting for their life. Families may choose this option to help a child overcome a learning disability. Some choose this option so children can pursue dreams of becoming a concert pianist or Olympic athlete.
When NAPCS/NACSA produces a proposal that doesn’t factor in why families choose this option, its conclusions threaten to take away this option.
Proposal Conclusions Ignore Individual Students
Regrettably, the proposal’s conclusions are based on controversial standardized testing results, which are aggregated into school-wide averages and lump all children into the same category. These results ignore an individual student’s progression – or regression – yet are the measure for determining whether a school is considered successful. This accountability method fails because it ignores individual students. Many school districts, parents, teachers, and lawmakers are pressing the pause button on testing as an accurate way to measure individual student success.
When NAPCS/NACSA produces a proposal that bases its conclusion on flawed, controversial standardized testing, a school that is serving well many individual students may be forced to close.
Proposal Ignores Students Virtual Schools Serve
Public virtual schools are inclusive, accommodating all types of students regardless of their past academic records, socio-economic status, race, and ethnicity. All students, regardless of their circumstance, need options.
When NAPCS/NACSA produces a proposal that puts bureaucrats ahead of parents in deciding which children need this option, parent choice is taken away.
PublicSchoolOptions.org is a national alliance of parents that supports and defends parents’ rights to access the best public school options for their children. The Coalition supports the creation of public school options, including charter schools, online schools, magnet schools, open enrollment policies and other innovative education programs. Additionally, we advocate for equal access without restrictions to these public schools for all children.