The Illinois House moved to set a three-year moratorium on virtual charter schools after some suburban districts rejected them.
I wonder if the representatives understand that the quality of cyber charters is low, test scores are low, graduation rates are low. And the quality of education is poor.
But the companies make big profits.
A reader offers this comment about the education marketplace:
Better and cheaper aren’t even issues in the disruptive Educational marketing game. Only profit matters. Especially if you capture regulatory control, you can degrade quality to reduce cost, then mandate public funding to maximize profits. There’s no public sector, and no free market, to stop you.
I’ll quote again from Farrell:
“Christensen’s theory of innovation showed how “true revolutions occur, creating new markets and wreaking havoc within industries. Think: the PC, the MP3, the transistor radio.”
The wheel is still spinning on applications of internet and satellite “technology” in education. I’m a visionary and innovator myself, but in our classrooms, profit seekers are trying to freeze out wondrous real advances for their own advantage. Don’t confuse innovation with mean-minded little schemes to curtail and monetize other people’s inventions. The emperor is naked, and has no actual innovations to offer.
If you want to think more deeply than opportunistic market manipulation, here’s Anil Dash’s magnificent rumination on the internet, The Web We Lost:
He also understands the wheels are still spinning, and proposes ways to bring the internet back into the commons, where (like public education) it belongs.
I have written many posts about the scam and sham of cyber charters. They are highly profitable for their owners and investors, but study after study shows that they provide a poor education. Whatever their value for adults, whatever the value of an online course for a rural student, the cyber charters are a pitiful substitute for a real school with real teachers and real students and real human interaction.
Now comes the inside scoop from a teacher in a cyber charter school. It is very thing it’s critics feared and worse. It is all about making money for the corporation. It is bad education. That is, if you care about children or education or the future of our society.
The Brits have reason to be suspicious of Rupert Murdoch’s entry into the education business. They still have fresh memories of the murdered Millie Dowling, whose cell phone was hacked by Murdoch reporters, as well as the larger hacking scandal, which reached into government and Scotland Yard.
This technology expert explains why he does not like Amplify.
Dr. Gene Glass is a distinguished scholar with a long career in educational research and statistics.
He recently co-authored a critical review of virtual charter schools, published by the National Education Policy Center.
In response, an operative from Jeb Bush’s so-called “Foundation for Educational Excellence” created a website with Dr. Glass’s name, ridiculing him and impugning his integrity by implying he was bought by teacher union money. The smear site is called http://geneglass.org/.
Because the corporate reformers are motivated by money, they assume everyone else is. They can’t understand that some people work from ideals higher than Mammon.
None of Dr. Glass’s critics acknowledged that CREDO studied charter schools in Pennsylvania and found that the worst student academic performance was in virtual charter schools. But no one from Jeb Bush’s shop created a website to ridicule CREDO because it is funded by the Walton Foundation and led by researcher Margaret (Macke) Raymond, who is on the faculty at Stanford and affiliated with the conservative, free-market Hoover Institution.
This is Gene Glass’s bio (Wikipedia):
“Gene V Glass (born June 19, 1940) is an American statistician and researcher working in educational psychology and the social sciences. He coined the term “meta-analysis” and illustrated its first use in his Presidential address to the American Educational Research Association in San Francisco in April, 1976. The most extensive illustration of the technique was to the literature on psychotherapy outcome studies, published in 1980 by Johns Hopkins University Press under the title Benefits of Psychotherapy by Mary Lee Smith, Gene V Glass, and Thomas I. Miller. Gene V Glass is a Regents’ Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University in both the educational leadership and policy studies and psychology in education divisions, having retired in 2010 from the Mary Lou Fulton Institute and Graduate School of Education. Currently he is a Senior Researcher at the National Education Policy Center and a Research Professor in the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Education.”
Idaho will introduce Khan Academy videos to 10,000 students in 47 schools, a mix of public, private, and charter.
The videos will teach math, science, history, and art. The project is underwritten by a local Idaho foundation.
I would like to hear from teachers who have reviewed the Khan Academy videos. What do you think of them?
A reader in New Mexico shares this information.
If the state commission does a study of effectiveness, the virtual charter schools will never win approval.
Here is the comment:
I thought this might be of interest to you. I live in New Mexico and recently our Public Education Commission denied the charter application for a new charter that will contract with Connections Academy.
Our Secretary of Education Designate Hanna Skandera (she has held the position for nearly 3 years, but has not gained senate approval because she doesn’t actually meet the criteria set forth by the constitution) overruled that. It looks very much like she did that because of her connections with Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education which receives donations from Connections Academy.
Today, I learned that the Commission will appeal her approval and would like to stop any new virtual charters from opening until a study can be made on their effectiveness. State lawmakers are also looking into the legality of using state public education funds to pay for virtual charter schools run by out-of-state private companies.
More information can be found here http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2013/02/01/news/skandera-oks-virtual-school.html
Coach Bob Sikes has been reading Pearson’s report to investors. 2012 was a really good year.
No mention of Pineapplegate:
” The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a consortium of 23 states, awarded Pearson and Educational Testing Service (ETS) the contract to develop test items that will be part of the new English and mathematics assessments to be administered from the 2014-2015 school year. The assessments will be based on what students need to be ready for college and careers, and will measure and track their progress along the way.
” We continued to produce strong growth in secure online testing, an important market for the future. We increased online testing volumes by more than 10%, delivering 6.5 million state accountability tests, 4.5 million constructed response items and 21 million spoken tests. We now assess oral proficiency in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Arabic and Chinese. We also launched the Online Assessment Readiness Tool for the PARCC and the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Common Core consortia to help 45 states prepare for the transition to online assessments.
” We won new state contracts in Colorado and Missouri and a new contract with the College Board to deliver ReadiStep, a middle school assessment that measures and tracks college readiness skills. We extended our contract with the College Board to deliver the ACCUPLACER assessment, a computer-adaptive diagnostic, placement and online intervention system that supports 1,300 institutions and 7 million students annually.
” We won five Race To The Top (RTTT) state deals (Kentucky, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina and New York) led by Schoolnet. PowerSchool won three state/province-level contracts (North Carolina, New Brunswick and Northwest Territories). We launched our mobile PowerSchool applications and grew our 3rd party partner ecosystem to over 50 partners. PowerSchool supports more than 12 million students, up more than 20% on 2011 while Schoolnet supports 8.3 million students, up almost 160% on 2011″
Reporter Colin Woodard’s brilliant exposé of the profitable ties between Jeb Bush, Maine’s Governor Paul LePage, and the online industry won the prestigious George Polk award for reporting in 2012.
If you have not read it, do so now. You will be an informed citizen.
More about this great journalist:
Colin Woodard, an award-winning author
and journalist who writes for Washington
Monthly, The Christian Science Monitor,
and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
He is currently State and National Affairs
Writer for the Portland Press Herald /
Maine Sunday Telegram, where he
received a 2012 George Polk Award for
his investigative reporting. A native of
Maine, he has reported from more than
fifty foreign countries and six continents,
and lived for more than four years in
He is the author of the New England
bestseller The Lobster Coast: Rebels,
Rusticators, and the Struggle for a
Forgotten Frontier (Viking Press, 2004),
a cultural and environmental history of
coastal Maine; Ocean’s End: Travels
Through Endangered Seas (Basic Books,
2000), a narrative non-fiction account of
the deterioration of the world’s oceans;
and The Republic of Pirates: Being The
True And Surprising Story Of The
Caribbean Pirates And The Man Who
Brought Them Down , on which the
forthcoming NBC series “Crossbones” is
His fourth book, American Nations: A
History of the Eleven Rival Regional
Cultures of North America (Viking, 2011)
was named one of the Best Books of 2011
by the editors of The New Republic and
The Globalist and won the 2012 Maine
Literary Award for Non-Fiction.
He lives in midcoast Maine.
Online charter schools are, with few exceptions a sham. They waste taxpayer dollars and, worse, they waste students’ lives.
Here is an especially egregious example. Pearson’s Connections Academy graduated a blind student who could neither read or write. they took the state’s money, but the young woman did not get an education nor did she get appropriate accommodations for her disability.
Where are the lawyers for students with disabilities?
Who will stop these zombie schools from gathering up dollars intended to educate the state’s children?