Will virtual charter school students have to meet Maine’s new proficiency-based graduation requirements?

The Maine Charter School Commission today approved Maine’s second virtual charter school. The virtual school will be managed by K12 Inc., only 27.7 percent of whose students  achieve adequate yearly progress by federal standards, and whose graduation rate is a mere 49.1 percent.

Simultaneously,  Maine has been spending huge amounts of taxpayer money converting our traditional public schools to a proficiency-based diploma system, intended to raise significantly the level of what is required academically to earn a high school diploma in our state.

Will the virtual charter school students be held to the same level of achievement soon to be required of our traditional students? What is the mechanism by which  proficiency of students at virtual charter schools will be judged?

If these students do not achieve proficiency as outlined by the Department of Education will they be required to continue attending the virtual school until they do? If the virtual school has such a poor record of preparing students, will taxpayers be expected to continue funding these students year after year as they struggle to achieve proficiency? How much exactly will this new form of schooling cost the taxpayers of Maine, and will our state get better-educated graduates in return? Who will be reaping the profit from Maine’s second virtual charter school?


Kathreen Harrison

About Kathreen Harrison

Kathreen Harrison is a public school teacher in Maine. She has a master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College. She has worked in a variety of schools in New York and Maine in a number of capacities – French teacher, gifted and talented teacher, elementary school teacher, and curriculum coordinator for island schools. She has lived in Maine for 20 years and has a particular interest in school reform.