And it must be said that the state doesn’t seem to be doing a very good job of monitoring when it comes to online education.
When Indiana education officials released school A-F grades last week, only three schools had received F grades for six years in a row, chalkbeat.org reports.
Two were traditional public schools in Gary and Marion County, and the other was Hoosier Academy Virtual Charter school, which does all its teaching and learning online. For the traditional public schools, the sixth straight F marks the first time the state can potentially close the school.
But for charter schools, the limit is set at four, a milestone Hoosier Virtual surpassed almost two years ago. Despite its poor performance, the state has not taken steps to close the school or restrict state funding to its charter authorizer, Ball State University.
And the news gets worse. Every online school in the state that tested students in 2016 — including four charter schools — received an F grade: Hoosier Academy Virtual, Hoosier Academy-Indianapolis, Insight School of Indiana, Indiana Connections Academy, Indiana Virtual School and Wayne Township’s virtual high school.
It is true, as online defenders argue, that many of the 11,000 Hoosier students now in virtual schools are challenged in some way – either with disabilities or having to move around a lot or just not doing well in a traditional classroom. But those are the very students who might benefit from more one-on-one time with an actual instructor. Virtual schools have made an effort to integrate the digital and the personal, but they need to do a lot better.
And the state needs to pay attention. The point of an experiment is to improve what you have. If you don’t honestly rate the experiment, the whole exercise is pointless.