Opinion
School Choice & Charters Letter to the Editor

Cyber Charters Offer At-Risk Students a Chance at Success

January 24, 2017 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

As part of your recent special investigation exploring online charter schools, you focused on GOAL Academy in Colorado and, in a sterile analysis of numbers, looked at low test scores, high dropout rates, and low day-to-day student engagement and deemed the school a “failure” (“Rewarding Failure: An Education Week Investigation of the Cyber Charter Industry”).

But when you look at GOAL’s work in a more real-world context, it actually stands as an example of how online charter schools provide opportunities and value to students who have fallen through the cracks or otherwise been left behind by traditional education.

GOAL serves approximately 4,000 students. Ninety-eight percent of them qualified as “at risk” in October 2015, and virtually all have been routinely failed by the traditional school system. For these students, GOAL is a godsend.

Comparing GOAL to traditional schools that are not primarily composed of at-risk students and declaring it a “failure” is an inaccurate and fundamentally unfair assessment. The challenges in these students’ lives—the demands of work,home, and child and parent care—don’t disappear when they enroll in GOAL. So it’s not surprising that these students don’t religiously log in to their school accounts each and every day.

Online schools such as GOAL Academy are built on the philosophy that the traditional Monday through Friday, 8 a.m to 3 p.m. school day is not for everyone and that students deserve—and, in many cases, need—a choice in how they are educated. Online charters are giving hard-to-reach students something that traditional schools have never given them: real opportunities for academic success.

There are numerous public schools that year in and year out, for decades, have yielded low test scores, high dropout rates, and low day-to-day student engagement. Yet, despite their glaring, painful lack of success in educating students, they continue to operate and receive funding and funding increases. Would Education Week characterize their continued existence as “rewarding failure”? It seems unlikely.

Jeanne Allen

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Center for Education Reform

Washington, D.C.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the January 25, 2017 edition of Education Week as Cyber Charters Offer At-Risk Students a Chance at Success

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
Strategies for Incorporating SEL into Curriculum
Empower students to thrive. Learn how to integrate powerful social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies into the classroom.
Content provided by Be GLAD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Choice & Charters Video Private School Choice: A Video Explainer
We're tracking the proliferation of school choice policies around the country. Here's how to get up to speed.
2 min read
School Choice & Charters Opinion What Would Religious Charter Schools Mean for Public Education?
Discriminating and proselytizing on the taxpayer dime will never be acceptable, writes Kevin G. Welner.
Kevin G. Welner
5 min read
A green apple with a cross shaped stem in between red apples.
Richard Mia for Education Week
School Choice & Charters Private School Choice Continues to Spread. 3 Things to Know
New research shows private schools increase tuition when states send public funds for parents to spend on private education.
6 min read
Image of private school kids outside in the school yard.
E+
School Choice & Charters Opinion Does School Choice 'Work'?
Ultimately, the “how” of educational choice may matter more than the “what.”
10 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty