Virtual charter school corporations are cashing in during the pandemic

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Virtual charter school corporations are cashing in during the pandemic. According to Chalkbeat, K12 Inc., the country’s largest operator of virtual schools, says enrollment has jumped from 123,000 students last year to 170,000 this year. Connections Academy, the country’s second largest virtual school network, says applications have jumped 61 percent.

As Chalkbeat notes, national research, as well studies in GeorgiaIndiana, and Ohio, have shown that students in virtual charter schools make substantially less progress on state math and reading tests than demographically similar students in non-virtual public schools. Chalkbeat

Here’s In the Public Interest’s explainer on online K-12 education, including virtual charter schools.

Charter could be denied due to fiscal impact. A charter petition appeal for a charter school to operate in Paso Robles will be decided today (Thursday) by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Education. County Office of Education staff are recommending denial of Almond Acres Charter Academy’s appeal because the petition did not meet education standards for charter schools.

They also point to the fiscal impact: “The school district is not positioned to absorb the fiscal impact of the proposed charter school.” The Paso Robles Press

Private capital amassing for charter buildings. Equitable Facilities Fund, a relatively new startup with leadership from the Walton Family Foundation, has inked a $141 million deal to fund revenue bonds for charter school facilities in California and Arizona. The Bond Buyer

And from outside the Golden State A community of color was failed by 30 years of school choice—now teachers push a positive alternative. Journalist Jeff Bryant documents grassroots efforts to push the “community school” model in Milwaukee. AlterNet

Photo by Allison Shelley for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action