The Defects of Corporate-chartered On-Line Schools
I have previously cited a Wall Street Journal by Peter Grant , 10-14- 15 " Investors Take Shine to Charters" in which the author elaborated on the economic benefits of investing in charter schools. With hundreds of millions of investment dollars just waiting for the opportunity of receiving a ten percent return on investment from charter schools, it became evident that charter schools were NOT like public schools, nor was education for minorities in low achieving schools their bottom line.
But to take the Corporate-chartered school reality one step further, what happens when these investors enter into the on-line school business for even greater profits - at the tax payers' expense. If the expensive middleman i. e. the teacher is removed and replaced by an email educational service, then even greater profits will result. One "electronic supervisor" could supervise seventy to a hundred students for the same salary expense of teaching twenty students in a more traditional brick and mortar environment. Children with special needs could be assisted, as well as focusing on special learning needs, child care services and transportation costs would financially benefit lower income families. It would seem like a win-win situation for all parties especially the students. The reality once more is that the only true winners are the investors in the Corporate-chartered school industry.
Recent findings from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), Mathematica, the Center on Reinventing Public Education, is a study funded by the conservative Walton Foundation came to the conclusion that students using this virtual learning format were virtually not attending any educational program. "Those enrolled in such schools learned the equivalent of 27 fewer days in reading and 180 days in math compared with the traditional public school students." (T. Fordham Inst.) There are currently 17 states that support such on-line school systems. In Ohio 1/2 of money going from better performing districts went to 6 E-systems, where 98% of students performed worse than their public school equivalents at a cost to tax payers of $ 72 million. Local Ohio tax payers also subsidized Ohio E schools to the tune of $104 million.
The evidence is clear, Corporate-chartered schools despite their propaganda on a national level do not provide superior services than those of the public school system. Both have their levels of academic achievements and deficiencies generally on the same level of accomplishments. What is even clearer is that the Corporate-chartered school systems are an undeniable total disaster, for tax payers, but more importantly for the students. Evidence of these deficiencies are found in the CREDO extensive study and reported in the New York Times and the Washington Post. The only ones who benefit are the investors and Corporate administrators.
LEGISLATORS BEWARE. Blank check authorization of Corporate-chartered schools is a path to the destruction of our entire educational system.