The Pryor Times

Opinion

December 25, 2013

Barresi on virtual charter schools

PRYOR, OK — Barresi on virtual charter schools

Amid the growth of state “virtual” charter schools, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi is calling for legislation to strengthen academic and financial standards for such entities.

While a proponent of charter schools, Barresi said the relatively new phenomenon of virtual charters needs to be held to the same standards of accountability and transparency that are applicable to other charters in the public school system.

“Oklahoma’s public schools predate statehood, while virtual charter schools have been around for but a handful of years,” she said.

“It is vital to ensure these schools are held to the same standards as their brick-and-mortar counterparts so their students can receive a high-quality education. Technological advances continue to quickly change the face of education. That holds great potential, but we must ensure that all of our children receive excellent education. To do this, we need to encourage our schools, including virtual charters, to be transparent and accountable to the people of Oklahoma. “

Barresi already has spoken with several legislators about sponsoring such a bill when the Oklahoma State Legislature convenes in February.

Twenty-five charter schools currently operate in Oklahoma, two of which are virtual schools. Three other virtual schools have applications pending before the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board.

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