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Lawmakers Asked To Strengthen Virtual Charter Schools Requirements

ASTEC high school students work as a team to conduct a science experiment at a Module workstation. The Advanced Science and Technology Education Charter (ASTEC) Schools became Oklahoma’s first start-up charter school in 2000.
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The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration asked policymakers Wednesday to place stricter requirements on virtual charter schools during an interim study evaluating the effectiveness of Oklahoma public charter schools (H14-069).

Ryan Owen, counsel for CCOSA, presented a list of recommendations to the House Common Education Committee, which included stricter accountability and reporting requirements and a moratorium on enrollment into these virtual charters until efficacy of these schools can be proven.

“We are nowhere near well informed in this topic,” Owen told lawmakers. “This is new in the state, a new law and we now have a new state board that assumed responsibility and oversight in July. We want this to be an issue to be considered as policymakers because we’re not done.”

Owen acknowledged that virtual charter education has come a long ways in the state since 2008 but said issues remain with the funding and weight given to these institutions when they do not face the same issues as a traditional brick and mortar school.

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