Classroom Technology

Wis. Court Sides With Virtual Schools

By Bess Keller — March 28, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A legal challenge to a virtual charter school in Wisconsin has failed, the second time in three years that a state court has turned down arguments from Wisconsin’s largest teachers’ union that the Internet schools are illegal.

The Wisconsin Education Association Council, an affiliate of the National Education Association, maintained in a lawsuit filed in 2004 that the Wisconsin Virtual Charter Academy broke state law by relying too much on parents to educate their children.

The suit also charged that officials of the Northern Ozaukee district, which chartered the school, violated Wisconsin’s charter school and open-enrollment laws by operating a cyberacademy that enrolls students outside district boundaries. Wisconsin has a dozen district-chartered virtual charter schools.

The Northern Ozaukee district opened the Wisconsin Virtual Academy in fall 2004, using a largely self-paced curriculum provided by K12 Inc., a for-profit online education company headquartered in McLean, Va. The K-7 school’s setup depends on parents’ overseeing their children’s work with the support of licensed teachers employed by the district, though at about double the pupil-teacher ratio found in one of the district’s three traditional schools. At the time of the suit, only six of the virtual school’s 600-some students lived in the district, which enrolls about 900 other students.

Department’s Dual Role

Judge Joseph D. McCormack of the Ozaukee County Circuit Court ruled March 16 that Wisconsin’s teacher-certification law does not place requirements on parents helping with their children’s education. Nor, he found, did the charter or open-enrollment law prohibit virtual schools, including ones that enroll students from across the state.

“This removed a cloud for the upcoming year from virtual schools,” said Michael D. Dean, a lawyer who represented parents of Wisconsin Virtual Academy students. The parents had won the right to be included as defendants in the case, which the union filed against district officials, K12, and the Wisconsin education department.

Although the department was sued because of its role in providing state aid to the virtual charter schools, in the end it supported the union’s charge that licensed teachers did not assume enough teaching responsibility in the Wisconsin Virtual Academy.

Neither the union nor the state education department returned calls seeking comment.

A version of this article appeared in the March 29, 2006 edition of Education Week as Wis. Court Sides With Virtual Schools

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
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

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

Classroom Technology 1 in 3 College Applicants Used AI for Essay Help. Did They Cheat?
Generative AI tools like ChatGPT have put a high-tech twist on decades-old questions of fairness in the college admissions process.
8 min read
Photo collage of robotic hand using computer keyboard.
iStock
Classroom Technology Spotlight Spotlight on Academic Integrity & AI
This Spotlight will help you examine how teachers are combatting AI cheating, discover how to structure lessons in AI literacy, and more.
Classroom Technology Opinion The Promise and Peril of AI for Education
As GPS did for our sense of direction, AI could erode students’ connection to knowledge.
8 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Classroom Technology What Educators Need to Know About AI’s Impact on Black Students
Four experts weigh the balance between providing access to AI and protecting students from its dangers.
3 min read
Teacher Helping Female Pupil Line Of High School Students Working at Screens In Computer Class
iStock/Getty