Idaho Parent Organization: Virtual Charter School Study an Insult to Parents and Students Benefitting from School Choice
Study ignores parents; bases results on high-stakes testing
BOISE — Today, Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families responded to a newly released study about an important public school option for thousands of families across the country: online charter schools.
Alyssa Antoniuk, Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families President and choice advocate, said, “It is a shame that parents were not included in this important conversation. We know why we chose the school of choice that works best for our children. We see them succeed in their school of choice and would be willing to share our stories with anyone who asked us.”
The recently released Virtual Charter School Study includes questionable methodology and conclusions that are questionable, such as:
1. Parents of students in online charter schools were not part of the study or its conclusions – the very parents making the decision to use this important public school option were not part of the research or results.
2. The study does not account for the many reasons that students and parents choose online charter schools in the first place.
3. Conclusions were based solely on high-stakes testing, at a time when many school districts, parents, teachers, and lawmakers are pressing the “pause button” on testing as an accurate way to measure individual student success. Just days ago even the President addressed ongoing concerns about over-testing.
4. The conclusions were based on school-wide performance, not individual student success, despite recent polling that underscores the importance of not using school-wide test results as a measure of success.
• 74 percent of respondents agree that accountability systems should focus on individual student vs. whole student populations;
• 63 percent agree that when evaluating a school, individual student learning is more important than overall school performance;
• 73 percent agree that a grade level a school is given by the state is not an accurate measure of the success of the individual students in it.
5. This study uses a “virtual twin” methodology that fails to analyze or account for factors in the lives of actual students, including enrollment dates, progress over time enrolled in an online charter school, or reasons why students enrolled in that option.
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The Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families’ mission is to promote and advocate for public policy that furthers the advancement of charter schools and the innovations in education they represent. The Coalition works to ensure that every Idaho student has equal access to the option of enrolling in a public charter school whether it offers instruction in a traditional classroom or a virtual setting.