In defense of Florida Virtual School
The recent Nation magazine piece about virtual schooling in Florida got a lot of tongues wagging. It also drew a retort from Bill Tucker, who is managing director of the Education Sector think tank and writes a lot about virtual schooling. In this Education Next piece, he says the author of the Nation article wrongly maligns Florida Virtual School:
Florida Virtual School, which is prominently connected with privatization in four separate paragraphs of the article, is not a private corporation. It is, instead, a state-owned and state-run institution. There are no shareholders. There are, though, real, live teachers. Led by a former elementary school teacher, the school employs over a 1,000 state certified teachers, almost all of whom have also taught in traditional classrooms. It is fully accredited by two major agencies: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and The Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation. And, while it is not a charter school, it was the country’s first state-wide Internet-based public high school and has enrolled hundreds of thousands of public school students since 1997. Florida Virtual School is, in short, a poster child for public sector innovation. But none of that fit into author Fang’s narrative. It would have made a simple story into the complex one that it is.