Authorizers need to consider credible evidence when considering online charter schools in their community.
This week, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) released a ground-breaking report on virtual schools which found student outcomes at virtual schools lag dramatically behind both traditional public schools and peer charter schools. In response, Greg Richmond, president and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) issued the following statement:
“The results of CREDO’s recent report on the performance of virtual schools are deeply troubling. There is a place for virtual schooling in our nation, but there is no place for results like these.
“Children in virtual schools deserve a high-quality education that prepares them for success in life, just like children everywhere. It is a privilege to educate children, not a right. Virtual schools, like all schools, must continually earn that privilege by demonstrating they are indeed successfully educating children.
“Authorizers must set a high bar for every charter school—brick and mortar or virtual—and then make sure each school meets these high expectations. The CREDO results reveal that there are many virtual schools that are dramatically failing to meet their expectations as public charter schools and should be closed in the coming months in order to protect student and public interests.
“Going further, the report calls into question whether virtual schools should be included in the charter school model at all. By definition, charter schools must be open to every student. The report’s overwhelming results indicate virtual schools are failing the average student. NACSA calls on state legislatures to create and adopt new policy measures that create incentives for children to succeed.
“Creating more quality seats for children means that authorizers must continue to allow innovative schools to open and thrive. However, the results of today’s report should sound an alarm to every authorizer and policymaker around the country that many virtual schools simply are not producing the kinds of outcomes many hoped they would under the current system.”
The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) is an independent voice for effective charter school policy and thoughtful charter authorizing practices that lead to more great public schools. Our research, policy, and consultation work advances excellence and accountability in the charter school sector. With authorizers and other partners, we have built the gold standard for charter school authorizing. Through smart charter school growth, these authorizers will give hundreds of thousands of children an opportunity for a better education each year. More at www.qualitycharters.org