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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Virtual Schools and Choice

Rovy Branon, over at Situativity: Learning in Context, at the beginning of the month posted an entry at his blog which I found a little curious (see "The Debate Begins for Indiana Online Charter Schools).

The part that I found curious was the line:

"I have argued before in this blog that we will know when true choice has arrived for our schools when the old system begins to fight through legislation and the courts to pass laws to try to keep the status quo in place."
I'm not sure why this struck me the way it did, as I have argued that virtual schooling is can offer many things to many different groups of students (see "Who Are Virtual Schools For?).

I guess what it is about this that strikes me the wrong way is the fact that he's talking about charter schools and choice. Let me translate, the ability to choose to circumvent the public school system and take needed dollars out of it in order to educate your child in a religious environment. It was only a few days ago that I rallied against this very thing.

I agree with the notion that virtual schooling should be able to provide choice for students, but I see that choice as the choice between taking Spanish, French, German or Russian (or any other language for that matter), even hough you go to a rural school that only has 200 students in K-12. Or the choice to take an Advanced Placement Chemistry class even though your inner city school can't attract a qualified chemistry teacher to work there. Or the choice to finish a high school diploma, even though because of behaviourial issues you aren't able to cope in the traditional schol setting. Or the choice to stay in school, even though you are travelling all of the time competing as an amateur in a particular sport or performing a special talent.

This is the choice that I think virtual schooling has to offer! Not, I want my son or daughter to be raised in a Christian school using taxpayers money.

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Anonymous Rovy Branon said...

I don't think we disagree much on this point. I am not sure if you were able to read the original article in the Indy Star (looks like the link might now be moved) but it contained a lot of negative comments about how online charter schools were reducing the population at traditional schools.

My only point was a counter to those arguments to say that choice is a good thing. However, choice can threaten systems with near-monopoly status (like public schools) even when the choice is still a public offering!

Tax dollars still fund charter schools but; will local school officials begin to push legislation that stops statewide online charter schools to save their own fiefdoms? I think we will see this kind of activity if online charter schools take off.

Thanks for the link. For some reason, my SpamLookup ID'd your trackback as spam. It is the first false positive I have seen - I will have to tweak.


12:15 PM  

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