Cyber Charter School Disasters About to Worsen

Recent news reports suggest that more parents and students are flocking to privately-owned-operated online charter schools, presumably due to concerns about the “COVID Pandemic.” ((According to many different sources, the COVID recovery rate exceeds 98%.))

Parents, students, teachers, and the public at large should be aware that:

  • The overall “academic performance” of cyber charter schools is consistently abysmal, even by the admission of staunch charter school promoters and school privatizers.
  • The “academic performance” of cyber charter schools is consistently worse than the poor overall “academic performance” of brick-and-mortar charter schools.
  • The graduation rate in virtual charter schools is consistently low.
  • The breadth and depth of fraud, corruption, and nepotism in the cyber charter school sector far exceeds the high levels of fraud, corruption, and nepotism plaguing brick-and-mortar charter schools.
  • Even the most fervent supporters of online learning admit that the real classroom experience (fully in-person, non-digital, and non-buffered learning) is superior to screen-based instruction. ((Excessive screen time can lead to eye strain, headaches, backaches, poor circulation, and other health problems.))
  • More public funds that belong to public schools that are chronically-underfunded and routinely vilified will flow to cost-cutting privately-owned-operated virtual charter schools, thereby further lowering the quality of education in public schools that educate the majority of students in America.
  • Many virtual charter schools are owned-operated directly by large for-profit companies whose main aim is to maximize profit as fast as possible. These companies see students as commodities.
  • Oversight and accountability remain weak in the deregulated charter school sector.

Many other problems could be listed. The point is that cyber charter schools are a poor way for students and teachers to learn and grow together. They are also a big drain on the economy.

For a more detailed examination of the many problems inherent to digital learning and virtual charter schools, see Online Learning: What Every Parent Should Know (2018). ((Online Learning: What Every Parent Should Know (2018), Network for Public Education.))

Part of defending the right to education means opposing the flow of public funds and public resources to private entities like charter schools. Public money belongs only to the public, must remain under full public control, and be used only for public purposes. School privatization increases corruption, lowers the level of education, and reduces students and parents to consumers.

Shawgi Tell is author of the book Charter School Report Card. He can be reached at Read other articles by Shawgi.