And Wall Street investors are throwing a party:
Today’s anticipated vote of approval will be a significant change of the state board, which fought an attempt in the courts from the N.C. Virtual Academy to open up a virtual school three years ago.
If approved, the N.C. Virtual Academy (to be run by K12, Inc., NYSE:LRN) and N.C. Connections Academy (to be run by Connections Academy, owned by education giant Pearson, NYSE:PSO) will be able to enroll up to 1,500 students each from across the state, and send millions in public education dollars to schools run by private education companies.
Why "throw money" at NC's public schools, which graduate 80+% of their students, when you can piss away millions to out-of-state companies that often only achieve a 10% graduation rate? Because "Freedom." But the working poor better not get any ideas about taking part, because the GOP's irresponsibility is all-encompassing:
A committee of state board members previously recommended the schools provide and pay for “learning coaches” if parents weren’t available to monitor students, and provide computers and Internet access to students living in low-income families. Both schools say they won’t have the resources to pay for learning coaches.
At-risk students with parents who work wouldn’t be able to attend the virtual schools otherwise, Evelyn Bulluck said during Wednesday’s discussion at the state board. Bulluck is a Nash County-Rocky Mount school board member who serves in an advisory role to the state board. “That tells me that this school is not accessible for many children which means then that we’re excluding a segment of our student population,” Bulluck said. “North Carolina would not have established a law that excludes a whole segment of children.”
But other members stressed Republican lawmakers hadn’t envisioned those types of restrictions when they created a four-year pilot program for two virtual charter schools in last year’s budget bill. “The responsibility should fall on the parents,” said Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, a Republican supportive of expanding education choice options in the public school system. “It’s very problematic for us to get in the business in telling them they must provide a learning coach.”
No, what's "problematic" is having lawmakers who worship at the altar of privatization so religiously that documented results and best practices mean nothing, and monitoring the effectiveness of the free market's "magic formula" is akin to heresy or blasphemy. If it's such a good idea, we should all be watching closely so we can learn.