Many of you may not realize this, but Louisiana is fast becoming a virtual world. Don’t let the occasional hurricane or 100 megaton radioactive disaster waiting to happen fool you. Soon all of our commerce, and commuting will be done online. This is why we have stopped investing in real highways, bridges, hospitals and universities. Who needs those passe’ real world objects when there is a virtually untapped infinite virtual world waiting to take our money and our students? Just hop aboard this virtual pirogue and we’ll be off!
Our first stop on this virtual tour is the Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy (site code 343002 .) Boasting a virtual enrollment in excess of 1200 students, this virtual school serves students in grades k-12.
With Louisiana’s revolutionary new virtual school system, class size constraints will be a thing of the distant past. Students will no longer have to worry about trying to relate to their peers in the real world. (I wonder if their avatars will have to wear school uniforms?) Without a brick and mortar presence, and significantly fewer teachers and administrators, one would expect Louisiana would be trying to address its budget woes by reducing payments to virtual charter schools. One would think, but one would be thinking wrong. For these miraculous wonders we pay about the same amount as we do to traditional schools. We actually end up paying more when students leave virtual programs when they realize they are not getting the same level of education as their peers in traditional settings. Fortunately for the charter schools, they get to keep the money when students withdraw early, but the school districts funded, by local tax revenues, get to pick up the tabs.
Now study after study after study after study has shown that virtual schools are still pale imitations of the real thing for most students, and should only be used for extreme cases such as child actors, students with physical ailments like immune deficiencies, etc. But in Louisiana we only pay attention to studies that reinforce what our politicians and anointed leaders say, so you won’t see us worrying about those.
Don’t get me wrong, I think charter schools are great. . . for charter operators and politicians who need campaign contributions from charter operators. Fortunately we have some conscientious “Parental Options” (a group made up of high paid political lackeys that ensure charter schools follow as little regulation and oversight as possible) folks at the LDOE making sure charter schools live up to all their hype and maximize their profitability.
Yes—this is correct—it was a phone conversation that I had with [name redacted] of Louisiana Connections Academy—I emailed her a copy of Bulletin 741 and referred her to the SIS Guide for Membership definition of active attendance. She verbally expressed concern to me that she had several cases where the students were logging in BUT not producing the work and therefore were circumventing the system and she wanted to drop them and allow other students to enroll. [name redacted] reported to me that the Parental Office folks told her that she could not drop those students. (quote from former LDOE official)
I’m so glad we have a Parental Options group looking out for our Corporate stakeholders. They almost made a mistake by reporting honest information about students dropping out from their virtual school which could have cost them around 8 to 10 thousand dollars per student. They also saved this student from being considered in violation of the state’s truancy laws.
So listen up all you wanna be truant students. For only 10,000 dollars a year (the state will foot this bill) you can get a free computer at home with unlimited online access, and never have to set foot inside a school again. If an officer tries to pick you up while you’re hanging out at an arcade or skating in a park just show ’em your get out of jail free card – your virtual school ID.