“Another day, another attack on virtual charter schools in Idaho”
Recently, there has been an article published called “How is Idaho Charter School Performance Like a Clint Eastwood Movie?” on the Idaho Ed News website from the CEO of BLUUM, Terry Ryan. This article breaks down his charter school views into three categories; the good, the bad and the ugly. The ugly being virtual charter schools in Idaho.
This article is a direct attack on virtual charter school families in the state of Idaho. This constant attack on our virtual schools fails to understand the many important and personal reasons these families chose the virtual school environment. As we have said for many years, the option for school choice should be provided for every family to the school that they see fit. There are many Idaho families that have chosen virtual schooling due to bullying, health concerns, military families, etc. This article from BLUUM once again fails to reason with the many challenges facing virtual option families.
Along with the personal reasons that these schools help families, the article also created a negative break down on the performance of online charter schools in Idaho. To quote the article, “we promised to, increase the number of quality charter schools seats by 8,200 students, especially for our most educationally disadvantaged and rural students”. The charter schools under BLUUM enroll students that are educationally disadvantaged, in-poverty or with disabilities, at a severely lower rate than that of virtual schools. In fact, virtual schools enroll about 10% more students in poverty than brick-and-mortar charter school in Idaho.
There are many current successes in Idaho’s virtual schools. In fact, Idaho Virtual Academy’s 2018 High School ISAT proficiency levels in ELA and Math were both higher than the state averages. On top of that, Idaho Virtual Academy has increased their graduation 43.2% in the past five years.
Parents and students in Idaho are capable of choosing what educational model works best for them. We don’t need higher elitist charter school groups telling us what works for our student and what doesn’t.