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


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


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
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
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
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

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 Virtual Charters in Hot Water Again. Accusations of Fraud Prompt $150M Lawsuit
Indiana officials seek to recoup more than $150 million they say was either wrongly obtained or misspent by a consortium of virtual schools.
Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star
2 min read
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis. Rokita filed a lawsuit against a group of online charter schools accused of defrauding the state out of millions of dollars Thursday, July 8, 2021.
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis.
Darron Cummings/AP
School Choice & Charters How the Pandemic Helped Fuel the Private School Choice Movement
State lawmakers got a new talking point as they pushed to create and expand programs to send students to private schools.
8 min read
Collage showing two boys in classroom during pandemic wearing masks with cropped photo of feet and arrows going in different directions.
Collage by Gina Tomko/EducationWeek (Images: Getty)
School Choice & Charters Opinion Taking Stock After 30 Years of Charter Schools
Rick Hess speaks with Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, on charter schools turning 30.
8 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School Choice & Charters In Fight Over Millions of Dollars for Charter Schools, a Marijuana Tax May Bring Peace
The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted unanimously to rescind a polarizing lawsuit settlement, pending certain stipulations.
Nuria Martinez-Keel, The Oklahoman
3 min read
Money bills cash funds close up Getty
Getty