Expansion of Full-Time, Online Schooling Benefits Operators, Not Kids

HB 895 by Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) would remove a longstanding cap on the expansion of full-time “virtual” schools. The bill, which is up for a hearing in the House Public Education Committee Tuesday, would deliver big benefits to private, for-profit operators, but it offers little or no educational benefit for Texas schoolchildren.

There is a place for online learning as a complement to in-person instruction and even on a full-time basis for students without access to needed instruction otherwise, such as those isolated by illness or geography. Those types of virtual learning are not the issue.

The problem with full-time online schools starts with the fact that these schools tend to be operated by private, for-profit companies that contract with host districts serving as conduits for taxpayer money. These online schools have a track record of delivering an inferior education, especially for the disadvantaged students they often target in their marketing campaigns, and their accountability to the public is next to nil. Texas AFT will be testifying against the measure alongside allies in the Coalition for Public Schools.

Comments

  1. says

    Why does the Texas Legislature insist on taking public money from taxpayers and funneling it to private companies? Many high school students have a very difficult time focusing on school work while sitting physically in a classroom. This just sounds like a way to take the least performing, least motivated students and give them an “excuse” to opt out of public schools. Online learning would be helpful to those in rural schools who do not have access to classes that aren’t taught at the physical site. But for most this is just a way to water down the curriculum further than it already is.

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