Over Regulated?

News out of Georgia about a court ruling there to  overturn the authority of the state to create charter schools.  Again, this is not a good harbinger for the public schools; an industry that has to go to court to protect its market share is generally an industry in trouble.

In DC there is a quiet skirmish going on about how the military treats students who attended online* schools. Currently, the Defense Department limits all branches of the service to no more than 10 percent of recruits coming in with what it calls alternate high school credentials.  As implemented this rule adversely affects students who attend online schools even though states do not consider credentials from those schools to be alternative.  There is a bipartisan effort to change this rule in the House and Senate as part of next year’s Department of Defense appropriations bill.  Worth nothing: The service academies will take students from online schools.

Couple of issues here.  First, the military should, in my view, receive a lot of deference in terms of their personnel needs – especially where they have data to make decisions and apparently non-tradition students are less successful in the service.  However, this seems to be an instance where the policy has not kept pace with the times both because of how states treat online schools and also because of their – rapid – evolution. Lumping all online students in this category seems to overgeneralize. Best outcome would be a change in the policy but also some training so the military can become a more savvy consumer in the online space.  That’s because this issue again speaks to the need for supporters of online schools to get serious about quality and for states to ensure that accountability and oversight is strong.  Quality is mixed right now and while that impacts students in low-quality schools most directly it also adversely affects all online students if their credential is devalued.

By the way, there is also a little irony here in that the military offers a great benefit for its families – free tutoring via Tutor.com – that provides anytime tutoring for all students of active duty service members. Double irony?  The Defense Department is looking at creating virtual options for its own K-12 schools around the world.

*Bellwether works with several online or hybrid providers of education.

17 Responses to “Over Regulated?”

  1. Cal Says:

    Am I missing something? The courts declare charter schools unconstitutional and it’s bad news for public schools?

    “Yeah, if you have to go to the COURTS then you’re weak!”

    (Tell that to Brown. As in Brown v Board.)

  2. tom Says:

    still waiting: http://www.eduwonk.com/2011/04/good-kipp-bad-kipp.html#comment-220125

  3. Cal Says:

    Dude, you overestimate your value or my interest in you. All the answer you need is in my posts. Which you didn’t read, or you would not refer to me as “he”.

    I wonder what it is about this blogger that he attracts obsessives? Chris Smyr writes tedious screeds repeating himself on points that couldn’t possibly matter, some idiot Tom stalks posters whose ideas he doesn’t understand screaming some version of “PISTOLS AT DAWN!”

  4. Rob Darrow Says:

    Good to hear that the Defense Department may reconsider its decision to not allow graduates from online school. In an additional irony, eArmyU was one of the first online colleges for military men and women serving in the Army around the world. https://www.goarmyed.com/

  5. Nancy Says:

    When you are dealing with government agencies you often have such inconsistancy. I agree that accountability and oversight across the board for online education must become more streamlined. The department of defense allows seems to be reacting rather than setting the pace in most areas. The students who wish to participate in the services deserve that. Online education is not going away.

  6. Cal Says:

    From the article:

    “Packard’s mom, Sherri, said her son switched to online classes after floundering in a geometry course at his brick-and-mortar school. Once he got the attention of online teachers, his grades improved, she said.”

    Sure, this sounds like someone the army would want–a hothouse flower who needs attention and special handling to pass high school.

    As the article points out, the military has data establishing that the hothouse flowers who can’t cope in traditional schools tend not to thrive in the military. This seems perfectly reasonable.

    Only someone who sees pushing “alternative schools” would complain, because, of course, it suggests that the people who go to alternative schools are the issue, not the schools themselves.

    “By the way, there is also a little irony here in that the military offers a great benefit for its families – free tutoring via Tutor.com – that provides anytime tutoring for all students of active duty service members.”

    Not really. Again, the issue is the people who go there, not the quality of good online services. So once the Army knows they have a personnel member who was able to cope with traditional schools without running to a special environment, they can use focused training methods.

  7. tom Says:

    Did you actually read the post or are you willfully ignoring it?

  8. phillipmarlowe Says:

    Charter school operators in Albany:

    Budgets In Albany
    For those of you who say that some charter school proponents and education “reformers” aren’t out to destroy the public school system, what do you say to this story?

    ALBANY — A group associated with Albany’s charter schools sent out multiple fliers and likely paid for a push poll to kill the Albany school budget.

    At least three separate fliers were sent to Albany residents in the last two weeks that encouraged voters to reject the school budget and intentionally exaggerated a tax rate increase to mislead voters. A telephone push poll also asked city residents leading questions including if they were fed up with tax increases and wasteful spending.

    A postal record, obtained by a Times Union Freedom of Information request, lists the customer who paid for the mailings as “School Performance.” Tom Carroll, who founded the Brighter Choice Foundation — which supports all of the city’s 11 charter schools — is on the board of School Performance Inc., according to the most recent public records available. Chris Bender, executive director of Brighter Choice, has also served on the School Performance board.

    Two mailings sent out by Mail Works, a direct to mail company, went to 32,178 city residents, records show. Postage alone cost $6,766. However, the total cost spent by the charter affiliate to defeat the Albany budget is likely far greater because a third mailing went out and the push poll was conducted over a few weeks. The professionally printed cards could have also cost thousands of dollars.

    Albany’s charter schools are currently reimbursed about $12,000 per student by the Albany school district. A defeat of the budget would have no effect on the charter schools, which received $30 million in Albany taxpayer money this school year.

    Albany Superintendent Ray Colucciello said the mailings show voters that some charter operators would stoop to a clandestine attack just to harm the public schools. He said that it will make it harder to have collaboration with charter schools in the future.

    “How can you work together with someone who would try to defeat the resources for 8,500 kids?” he said.

    “How can you work together with someone who would try to defeat the resources for 8,500 kids?

  9. Chris Smyr Says:

    Cal:

    Stop implying you were able/willing to show that what I wrote was a “tedious screed”, unless of course the word “tedious” for you describes reading the citations you explicitly asked me to post, and if so please offer that clarification next time.

    After a couple rounds of my responding LINE-BY-LINE to the drivel you wrote in that other thread (the real reason my reply was long-winded), you manned a hasty retreat while simultaneously asserting all sorts of nasty stuff about who I was and my credibility. I gave you several chances to try and manage a good-faith rebuttal, and you refused all of them, and yet here you again try to attack my reputation, in another thread no less, perhaps so no one can read the tripe you proffered before? What a piece of work you are.

    www eduwonk com/2011/04/weekend-reading-8.html#comment-220160

  10. PhillipMarlowe Says:

    Charter schools In Action
    Hiring lower wage foreigners to save money:

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The federal government on Tuesday was investigating the recruitment of teachers by an Ohio charter school company that operates several central Ohio academies.
    Concept Schools, which operates Horizon Science Academy schools on the city’s north side and Noble Academy on the northwest side, is in the middle of an investigation into travel and immigration expenses it paid to recruit math and science teachers, 10TV’s Tanisha Mallett reported.

    10TV News obtained a letter sent to parents by Concept Schools that says it paid travel and immigration expenses for 19 employees from Turkey, and some of their family members, totaling about $13,000.

    Some of the teachers taught at Horizon Science Academy High School on Morse Road, Mallett reported.

    The school said that the expenses for the employees were approved by the state auditor, but officials said expenses related to spouses and family members of the teachers were not, Mallett reported.

    Concept Schools said it thought it could pay expenses for spouses and children of employees like any private company would and pointed out that 95 percent of its students graduate from high school and 100 percent of those students are accepted to college.

    Concept Schools said it has recruited overseas because there is a nationwide shortage of qualified math and science teachers.

    The Ohio Education Association said Ohio has 50 nationally-accredited teacher preparation programs that produce highly qualified teachers in math and science under Ohio licensure requirements.

    http://www.10tv.com/live/content/local/stories/2011/05/17/story-columbus-charter-school-investigation.html?sid=102

  11. Chris Smyr Says:

    Phillip:

    ***”Charter schools In Action [;] Hiring lower wage foreigners to save money:”

    1) This is a hasty generalization; the same flawed logic could be used to attack traditional public schools/teachers by using an article about a single bad school/teacher.

    2) Notice also that the article wasn’t about how this charter school “hired lower wage foreigners to save money”. It was about them spending *more* money than the state auditor allowed.

  12. PhillipMarlowe Says:

    Concept Schools said it thought it could pay expenses for spouses and children of employees like any private company would

  13. Chris Smyr Says:

    Very good, that’s the part of the article I was referring to

  14. PhillipMarlowe Says:

    Good, we agree for once.
    They pay their Turkish friends less to teach so they can use the surplus to bring their family members into the country.
    No doubt Concept can argue that by spending money on their teachers (and their families) instead of on the students, the school is providing teachers who won’t distracted worrying about family members half way around the globe.

  15. Chris Smyr Says:

    Phillip:

    Do you also agree that your logic here is flawed due to this article not being indicative of how charter schools operate?

    ***”They pay their Turkish friends less to teach”

    Evidence?

    ***”No doubt Concept can argue that by spending money on their teachers (and their families) instead of on the students,”

    How would this charter school spend the money directly on their students instead?

    ***”the school is providing teachers who won’t distracted worrying about family members half way around the globe.”

    That might (or might not) be their argument, but how does that imply they are hurting students?

  16. Chris Smyr Says:

    Phil:

    FOCUS. Stop with the shotgun blasts of nonsense on this blog, and, for once, finish what you started. You’ve successfully determined that we agree on which sentence of the article supported what I wrote. That shouldn’t be how you define success. Try harder: answer my questions above.

  17. online education Says:

    I agree completely with everything that Nancy said.

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