Thumbs up to the decision by Virtual Learning Solutions to withdraw its application to open an online-only charter school in the Fox Valley that would have spanned 18 districts, including those in Batavia, Geneva, Kaneland and St. Charles.
The decision has ended months of worry about what the virtual charter could mean for our districts, including loss of students and state funding, and what type of education would have been provided by the for-profit, out-of-state company that would have provided the curriculum and day-to-day management of the charter.
All 18 districts denied the proposed charter. Virtual Learning Solutions officials withdrew their appeal to the Illinois Charter School Commission due to recent legislation that prohibits the creation of any new virtual charter school until next April; plans had called for the online school to open this fall.
Today’s – and tomorrow’s – technology offers unprecedented educational opportunities. Virtual education options have the potential to benefit students. But more options doesn’t automatically create better quality of education.
Such opportunities need to be well thought-out. The legislation requires the state charter commission to study virtual charter schools and present a report to lawmakers by March 2014.
Determining best practices and setting firm standards for virtual schools will lead to better educational opportunities for students. And isn’t that what everybody wants?