Against all better judgment, virtual charters coming to NC

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.

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Comments

Integration of multiple concepts has been lost by the NCGA GOP.

No 5,6,7 or 8 year old should spend large parts of the day sitting in front of a computer screen.

The idea our GOP wants to embrace is that public schools are failing because they won't embrace new technology. That is why they brought in a rep from the Christensen Institute to speak to their private 'caucus' meeting in early January. (http://www.christenseninstitute.org) They see technology as the element of 'destructive innovation,' the concept that will destroy public schools and the teachers unions (which we do not have in NC) that donate large sums to Democrats. Kill 2 birds with one stone: make tax dollars for education a never-ending source of revenue for private businesses and starve the Democratic Party of funding at the same time.

They are only listening to the business end of technology that wants public dollars for their products. They haven't really listened to the teaching end, to learn how teachers believe students can benefit from technology. I attended a forum Tuesday night where one school superintendent commented that technology has not freed the school system (and its teachers) from tasks, but added new work for them on top of what was being done before.

If the NCGA GOP really wants to help students benefit from technology they would create a separate line of funding to provide every county in the state with broadband wifi service, not only to each and every school building but to the home of every school child. What's the point of requiring the Department of Public Instruction to purchase E-books for our schools if the kids can't access them from home?? What's the point of enacting laws requiring the creation of two virtual schools when large portions of our rural counties are not served by wifi?? They have, in effect, given virtual charters to the urban counties and left out the rural counties. Do you suppose they realize that?

Now that the FCC is making this kind of service a utility it would be very appropriate for the state itself to take a hand in creating a world-class wifi system as part of our North Carolina infrastructure. Not only to help our students, but as a draw to the business community. Rural wifi would allow at least some workers to work from their rural homestead, cutting vehicle emissions, bringing in tax revenue and preventing population loss from our rural areas.

I don't know if our NCGA GOP is capable of entertaining more than one idea at a time-- they are so busy pushing virtual charters they can't see beyond just that to the bigger picture. And how can we help them understand the bigger picture when they can't seem to integrate information from more than one source into a complete whole? Maybe they need to go back to school themselves.

Fear and the rigged game

And how can we help them understand the bigger picture when they can't seem to integrate information from more than one source into a complete whole?

We look at this proposal and see the problems with turning over public funds to a private company with a dismal track record of success and how the money would be better spent improving the public schools we have.

Republicans don't care about this. They see this as an opportunity for a government hand-out to donors that have greased their palms. They see this as a way to spout "school choice" as a buzzword to racists that don't want their kids going to school with Black or brown kids and religious extremists that don't want their kids enrolled in a "godless" public school They don't give a damn about whether it's a good use of public funds or if it will actually work - they're looking towards the next election.

Really, just stop trying to use logic and reason that looks at what's good for North Carolina's students. We're up against a political machine that's running a con, using fear to take advantage of parents that think they've found a way to get around school integration or want to hide their children from the outside world. That's all that's going on here.

Simply put, this is a disgusting and wasteful

example of our GOP led government writing checks to their corporate sponsors. In no way is this done to give children a good education.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?