It should be a no-brainer for Indiana lawmakers to rein in abuses by low-performing virtual charter schools. But there are few sure things in the General Assembly.
As Chalkbeat Indiana reported, virtual charter schools have spent heavily in recent years to lobby legislators. They have also contributed generously to political campaigns. They will be heard.
Regulation is needed because virtual charter schools, which provide all or most of their instruction online, have some of the worst academic performance in the state. Most have consistently received Fs in the state’s school grading system, and their test scores and graduation rates tend to be low.
A Chalkbeat investigation found questionable business practices at one such school, Indiana Virtual School. Its more recently opened sister school, Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy, had a 2018 graduation rate of 2.2 percent. Yet it didn’t receive a school grade because too few of its tenth-graders took required tests – even though, with over 6,000 students, it is the largest school in the state.