Opinion
School Choice & Charters Letter to the Editor

Important Perspective Lacking from Virtual Charter Reporting

November 29, 2016 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

The company I lead, Connections Education, is an accredited provider of virtual K-12 education solutions. We further online learning by supporting students and schools as we pursue innovation and best practices and demonstrate efficacy. We encourage and welcome conversations about how virtual schools serve students and how best to ensure and measure success. However, Education Week‘s recent special project on virtual schools does not reflect the existing value and future promise of virtual school options (“Rewarding Failure: An Education Week Investigation of the Cyber Charter Industry,” www.edweek.org, Nov. 3, 2016).

Each year, thousands of students and families choose virtual schools because they need and want a school option beyond the traditional classroom. These students choose to attend for myriad reasons: They might be struggling and need to catch up with a specific subject matter, they might have been bullied, or they might need the flexibility virtual schooling offers to pursue athletics. Or they might be ill and want school to be a place of certainty despite their physical limitations.

These family stories are vital to the broader discussion about virtual schooling.

We continue to be disappointed that their voices are so often absent from national media reporting, and that they were lacking in Education Week‘s series about virtual schools. In the entire package, there was scant mention of the families and children for whom virtual schooling works. Instead, it focused on controversies, including narrow performance metrics that are inaccurate measures of quality for schools that serve a highly mobile population of students.

I encourage reporters at Education Week and other news outlets writing about virtual schooling to visit one of the schools we support and to meet with families in their homes to see the school from their perspective.

People who experience this virtual education firsthand from the teachers’ and students’ perspective see the richness of the curriculum, the personalization, and how (and why) virtual schooling works for these families. This valuable insight offers a more balanced view of virtual schooling, a view we wish was reflected in Education Week‘s recent project.

Steven Guttentag

President and Co-founder

Connections Education

Columbia, Md.

Related Tags:

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