Virtual School Meanderings

October 3, 2012

Spotlight On Ohio

Another in what seems to be a series of news items to post.  This time it focuses upon the State of Ohio.  The series is described as:

These stories are the result of a reporting partnership between The Plain Dealer and StateImpact Ohio, a collaboration among National Public Radio and Ohio public-radio stations WCPN, WKSU and WOSU. StateImpact reporters Molly Bloom and Ida Lieszkovszky teamed up with Plain Dealer reporter Patrick O’Donnell to examine the growth, funding and performance of online schools, as well as what draws students to them.

Anyway, here are the items:

Unlike some of the recent investigative reporting, this series is largely favourable.  The quotes selected for even those presenting an opposing view are portrayed in a favourable manner (so Susan and Tom won’t be writng about the “hit pieces” in Ohio).  In fact, I’d say it was bordering on a puff piece, although not quite that flattering.  A little disappointing, given that there is a lot to examine in Ohio.  For example, some issues that continue to exist just from my own archives:

Oh well, I suppose journalism is as much a business as online education these days.

September 29, 2012

CA Assembly Bill 644, CA Online Learning Legislation

inacolThis was posted to the iNACOL forums in the past day or two or three.

Today, Governor Brown signed CA AB 644:

“This bill, commencing with the 2014–15 school year, would authorize, for purposes of computing average daily attendance, the inclusion of pupils in grades 9 to 12, inclusive, under the immediate supervision and control of a certificated employee of the school district or county office of education who is delivering synchronous, online instruction, as defined, provided that this instruction meets specified criteria.”[B][/B]

Bill Link

Haven’t read through the text of it yet, but figured I would pass it on.

August 6, 2012

Model Legislation For Online Learning

inacolThis showed up in my inbox on Friday.  Again I find it interesting that there is still no reference to the model legislation drafted by Justin Bathon.

Dear iNACOL Members,

I hope you received my note last week announcing the release of our “Statement of Principles for Model Legislation in States”, guidance for lawmakers as they craft policies around online and blended learning. This effort, created in collaboration with many within our membership, will be a valuable tool as we communicate with state and local leaders. It has received tremendous feedback. Thank you!

You may have seen, too, that separate model legislation focused on the use of technology in education was produced this week by another organization, The Alliance for Excellent Education. While some of our work was cited within this model law, iNACOL was not a part of its writing. In fact, we continue to work with them to address our concerns – as well as concerns expressed to us by members – over its highly prescriptive nature, among other issues.

Should you also wish to comment, AEE has set up an email address for public response – We encourage members and colleagues throughout the industry to copy us on their notes in order to maintain a running “pulse check” from the field.

Please let us know if we can answer any questions you might have.


Susan Patrick
President & CEO

I wonder if it could be because for all of the talk about high quality, iNACOL is unwilling to recommend limiting the growth of its for-profit members to manageable levels that they can service in an effective manner or tying funding to student performance (I mean afterall, online learning DOES equal high quality learning). However, instead we have to ideologically neo-liberal organizations trying to come together on how best to carve up the public education pie.

July 28, 2012

Statement Of Principles For Model Legislation In States

inacolThis showed up in my inbox in the past 24 hours or so…

Dear iNACOL Members and Partners,

Working across the field, I am proud to share with you iNACOL’s Principles for Model Legislation in States, guidance created with student achievement front and center.

I hope that you will find these five principles helpful as you communicate with policy makers key points of thoughtful legislation for online and blended learning in your state.

iNACOL believes high-quality education is a civil right for each student, regardless of zip code or socio-economic background. Our mission is to ensure all students have access to a world class education and quality online learning opportunities that prepare them for a lifetime of success.

Please download a copy of the PDF at our website and share it with your online social communities via Scribd


Susan Patrick
President & CEO

I’ll take some time next week and examine these principles as compared to the model legislation that Justin Bathon prepared, I suspect the differences will be stark and predictable.

May 3, 2012

Cyber School Expansion Approved In Michigan

From Tuesday’s inbox…

April 2012 Capitol Report – Latest Headlines

To: AFT Michigan Members and Retirees

The April 2012 Capitol Report is now available on the AFT Michigan website.

A .pdf version of the April report may be downloaded by clicking on this link:

The current Capitol Report may also be located on the AFT Michigan website at:

The Capitol Report gives you the latest news out of Lansing on issues the legislature is working on that may effect your work and life.

Here are the headlines in the April Capitol Report:

  • Bill Expands Cyber Schools
  • All Education Budgets Pass House/Senate
  • 2012-2013 K-12 School Aid Budgets – HOUSE and SENATE Comparison
  • 2012-2013 Higher Education Budgets HOUSE and SENATE Comparison
  • 2012-2013 Community College Budget – HOUSE and SENATE Comparison
  • Expanding Dual Enrollment
  • School Aid for Non-public School Students’ Instruction

You are subscribed to the AFT Michigan e-mail alert system which is designed to keep you informed about happenings in the legislature, the union and the community.  You may also keep up with legislative, political, and union activities on the AFT Michigan website or the AFT Michigan Facebook page.

The newsletter includes the following information:

Bill Expands Cyber Schools

Senate Bill 619 (Substitute H-3) (Colbeck, R-Canton) was amended and passed the House on April 26. An immediate motion to reconsider the vote has held the bill in the House until at least May 1. It will then return to the Senate for concurrence.

This bill will do the following:

  • Eliminate the limit of two on the number of contracts that may be issued for schools of excellence that are cyber schools, and increase the total to 5 in 2013; 10 in 2014; and 15 after December 31, 2014.
  • Permit local districts and ISDs to authorize one cyber school each.
  • Permit each cyber school to enroll 2,500 pupils the first year; 5,000 pupils the second year; and pupil enrollment will be capped at 10,000 the third year and thereafter.
  • Allow cyber schools to offer any grade configuration.
  • Allow a cyber school to sell any of its course offerings to other public schools.
  • Allow cyber charter schools to enroll students from anywhere in the state.
  • Require cyber charter school to provide a computer, internet subsidy, and parent orientation for each family.
  • Require reporting on per pupil cost to operate cyber charter schools due to MDE on October 1, 2012.
  • Require a cyber school to demonstrate experience delivering a quality education program that improves student academic achievement.

Fifty-six House members voted “YES” on the bill. All Democrats, except Representative Shanelle Jackson (Detroit), voted “NO.” Eight Republicans also voted “NO” on Senate Bill 619: Farrington (Utica); Forlini (Harrison Township); Horn (Frankenmuth); Glardon (Owosso); Goike (Ray Township), Johnson (Clare); Muxlow (Brown City); and Pettalia (Presque Isle).

Here are some of the articles written in the past few days about the issue (note I have participated in some of the online discussions on these news items):

Because we all know what this boils down to…  Corporate School Reform, The Final Frontier or How to Destroy Education While Making a Trillion Dollars!

When I look at what is becoming of education in the United States, I’m so glad I live in Canada!!!

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