Monday, December 05, 2011

The Politics Behind Cyber Schools

If you can get the December 5th edition of The Nation, buy yourself a copy (this edition is not yet online).  The Nation profiles the people and organizations behind the virtual education push.  To be honest, it is frightening to see how these people and groups (ALEC, Jeb Bush, Patricia Levesque, David Brennan, IQ-ity, etc.) are gaining influence across the country and in Ohio. 

Mother Jones has another article, Jeb Bush's Cyber Attack on Public Schools, which is online.  Here is an excerpt from Mother Jones:

....With more than 10,000 kids, ECOT is bigger than some of Ohio's 609 school districts. But its test scores rank above those of just 14 other districts. In 2010, barely half of its third-graders scored (PDF) proficient or better on state reading tests, and only 49 percent scored proficient in math, compared with state averages of 80 percent and 82 percent, respectively. ECOT's graduation rate has never exceeded 40 percent. ("The method used to calculate the official graduation rate does not consider students who take more than four years to graduate from high school," an ECOT spokesman says. "ECOT enrolls many students who are years behind their peers before they enroll with ECOT. ECOT graduates a large percentage of its population.")

The school also has a dubious track record in other areas. A 2001 audit (PDF) conducted after its first year of operations found that while the state had paid it to educate more than 2,000 students during one month, a mere seven kids had actually logged on to ECOT's computer system; state auditors couldn't verify that the rest of its student body even existed. In 2002, state officials forced ECOT to repay Ohio $1.7 million for these and other violations.....

Astounding.  These charter and electronic/cyber schools put profit before student performance.