The evidence is clear. Public virtual charter schools, also called cyber and online schools, are failing Oregon’s children.
But too many parents, blinded by the certainty of their ideological convictions, still commit their children to failing institutions.
Making it worse, they aren’t insisting that their children take tests designed to determine whether they are on track to be ready for college and the world of work.
In the 2016-17 school year, 95 percent of Oregon students took the English Language Arts tests, 94 percent took the math tests and 88 percent took the science tests.
But at Baker Web Academy, sponsored by Baker School District 5J, just 74.5 percent of students took the English Language Arts exam and 74.1 percent took the math tests, according to Oregon Department of Education Assessment Reports. Only science participation exceeded 90 percent, coming in at 91.2 percent.
Participation rates at Oregon’s largest virtual charter school, Oregon Connections Academy, renamed Oregon Charter Academy in the 2020-2021 school year, were deficient in 2016-17 as well. Just 72.3 percent of students took the English Language Arts exams, 72.1 percent took the math tests and 70.3 percent took the science tests.
Another poor performer is Oregon Virtual Academy (ORVA), part of a virtual charter network affiliated with for-profit company, K12 Inc. The company has come under heavy criticism for the academic performance of its schools across the country.
At ORVA, sponsored by North Bend School District 13, just 69.1 percent of students took the English Language Arts exam in the 2016-17 school year, 68.1 percent took the math tests and 65.4 percent took the science tests.
So many virtual charter school students skipping the tests seriously compromises the reliability of the test scores. It also makes if difficult for the virtual charter schools to systematically use performance measurement information to enhance learning.
But maybe the schools don’t care.
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