e-schools with no standards

We have written many times about the catastrophe of Ohio's e-schools. Criticism of Ohio's e-schools has come from many quarters, including a scathing report from Education Sector, and Innovation Ohio. News that the Department of Education has green lit 3 more schools to open should cause concern for any student minded educator and parent.

The the Dispatch's credit they report on the shocking state of standards that e-schools in Ohio operate under

Ohio law first called for the creation of standards in 2003, but the legislature took no action on the proposals submitted, said Department of Education spokesman John Charlton. The budget bill from 2011 called for standards by 2012, which the governor and state school superintendent delivered to the legislature. But lawmakers didn’t adopt those standards, so a backup set — written by an association whose members include online charter schools — became Ohio’s standards on Jan. 1, Charlton said.

The legislature, always quick to impose tougher and tougher standards of public schools and their teachers punted on creating standards for the worst schools in the state, and instead allowed their for-profit operators to write their own rules. As you can imagine those standards lack vigor

Those standards, from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, differ from those submitted by the governor and state superintendent in that they make no mention of attendance-keeping or budgeting.

The standards that the legislature rejected said that students had to have functioning hardware and software before they could be considered enrolled in an e-school and that attendance policies must ensure that enrolled students are “engaged.” They also called for schools to have a process for what actions to take when students fail to participate, and truancy policies that “enforce compulsory education laws.” An e-school’s sponsor would be required to “have a budget which allocates sufficient resources” to support the school.

A new moratorium of e-schools is not enough. These catastrophically failing schools need to be closed down, and new e-schools only allowed to open when strong common sense standards are in place.