Soapbox

Charter school parents to Legislature: Hands off

Hundreds of supporters of Ohio’s largest online charter school rally outside the Statehouse on May 9. Online charter schools in California are also lobbying the Legislature.
Hundreds of supporters of Ohio’s largest online charter school rally outside the Statehouse on May 9. Online charter schools in California are also lobbying the Legislature. The Associated Press

There’s been a one-sided conversation that lawmakers know what’s in the best interest for a unique group of learners. (“For-profit charter schools are ripping off taxpayers,” Viewpoints, June 6).

Unfortunately, Assemblyman Kevin McCarty and the California Federation of Teachers would rather attack the charter movement than address the “failure factories” of the current public education system. Their motives are thin – protecting union jobs and discrediting a solution working for thousands of students throughout California.

By demonizing “for-profit,” they fail to realize the strength in the education marketplace. If parents aren’t happy, they will leave. It’s the reason charters are flourishing in underserved communities.

That’s why California Parents for Public Virtual Education, a nonprofit parent volunteer organization, is alerting charter school families throughout the state about Assembly Bill 406. It’s time that lawmakers trust parents and support public education options specifically addressing our students’ academic, personal and social needs.

Here’s what parents care about – reassurance their LGBTQ child is learning in a bully-free environment, their chronically ill child is attending a whole day of instruction free from a health scare, or their gifted learner can map out a lesson plan.

For online charters, technology makes this possible, but it doesn’t mean students are lacking measurement standards, opportunities for socialization or personal support from teachers. Virtual students are partnered with teachers who meet with them and track their progress, and group activities are arranged throughout the school year, including community days, field trips and club projects.

Academic standards for online schools are just as high as those at other public schools. Our teachers are state-certified, and student academic progress is rigorously monitored by state education officials.

We’re calling on parents across the state to oppose AB 406. We won’t stand for lawmakers arbitrarily deciding what’s in the best interest of our students.

Mike MeCey of Carmichael is the coalition manager of California Parents for Public Virtual Education. He can be contacted at info@calvirtualed.org.

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