Sweet deal, but not for taxpayers!

New Mexico will pay out $6 million to the New Mexico Connections Academy, a virtual charter school, for students who are no longer enrolled. Connections is owned by mega-publisher Pearson. The leader of the Connections chain was also the chair of the ALEC education committee, encouraging red states to buy their product, which they did. Jeb Bush is a huge promoter of digital learning and his organization is heavily funded by software and hardware corporations.

When will states wake up to the fact that virtual charter schools are a scam? Any online courses needed should be under the direction of the local school district, meeting its needs, providing content it cannot provide, with no profit involved. Drive the frauds out of the marketplace.

A charter school in New Mexico that teaches students remotely by phone and internet is receiving public funding for hundreds of students who no longer are enrolled, amid attempts by state education officials to close to the school.

New Mexico Connections Academy will receive about $6 million during the current school year for students who are no longer enrolled, according to an accountability report from the budget-writing New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee. State spending accounts for the majority of public school funding in New Mexico. The school said Wednesday that it was setting aside some of the excess funding for future years when state funding is likely to lag behind enrollment.

Enrollment at the online school for grades 4 through 12 fell from more than 1,800 to students to about 1,100 after state officials declined to renew the school’s charter earlier this year amid lagging student academic results. Connections Academy successfully appealed the decision as arbitrary in state district court, though an appeal by the Public Education Department is pending.

Connections Academy opened in the fall of 2013 and contracts with the for-profit education curriculum provider Connections Education that is owned by Pearson.