In every state that has authorized virtual charter schools, these  schools are marked by two characteristics:

1. They are very profitable.

2. The “education” they provide is abysmal.

Typically, they have high attrition, low graduation rates, and low scores on state tests. The state fails to monitor them for quality. Students and taxpayers are fleeced.

The latest example is the Indiana Virtual School. The Republicans who control the legislature ignore failure so long as students are making choices. They happily waste taxpayer dollars so long as an entrepreneur is making money.

A former employee told the state Education Department two years ago that the Indiana Virtual Dchoolwas collecting millions of dollars for students who never enrolled or who enrolled but withdrew. The whistle blower was ignored. Of course. The employee was fired.

”Enrollment quickly swelled at the schools, thanks to the state’s favorable laws and lack of regulation about how fast they could grow. School leaders also had an incentive: Indiana’s funding system that gives schools more money for each student they bring in. Today, Indiana Virtual School and its sister school, Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy, enroll more than 6,000 students and could get more than $40 million from the state this year.

“But staffing didn’t appear to keep pace with that expansion. The schools have already received scrutiny for their tiny teaching staffs — with Indiana Virtual School at one time having more than 200 students for every teacher. And the schools have posted dismal academic results, with graduation rates in the single digits in recent years and a fraction of students passing state exams. Indiana Virtual School received its third F grade in a row from the state last year…

”The high student-to-teacher ratios, lack of student engagement, and high student mobility are often blamed for the schools’ academic shortcomings. Students at most virtual schools, in Indiana and other states, perform far below average on metrics like state tests and graduation rate. Last year, Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy graduated just 2 percent of its 1,009 seniors, and 5.7 percent of 10th-graders passed both state English and math exams.

“At Indiana Virtual School, about 24 percent of seniors graduated in 2018, the same year the school received its third F grade from the state. About 19 percent of elementary and middle school students passed both tests, and 4 percent of high-schoolers did.”

The School insists its students have high needs, blaming them for the dismal rates of completion and achievement.

But it still has not explained why it collected millions of dollars for phantom students.

Betsy DeVos strongly endorses Virtual Charter schools because they offer “choice.” Results and quality don’t matter.