It’s Groundhog Day once again.  Each year, Sacramento special interests predictably sponsor legislation harmful to online public charter schools and undermine parent choice.  This year, Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) has introduced a bill which is a direct assault on students who are victims of bullying, chronically-ill or learning-challenged.

If SB 806 becomes law, the fate of individual online public charter schools and the unique student populations they serve are at risk.  SB 806 could displace over 20,000 students statewide. So parents want to know from Senator Glazer:

For many children, a traditional school setting is simply not a good fit. A child might find the classroom is not moving at the right pace, depending on whether they are gifted learners or need more one-on-one instruction. In some cases, a child might have medical reasons or social challenges that make it difficult for them to participate productively in a group environment.

For over a decade, technology has made individual student achievement possible — but it doesn’t mean students in online public schools are lacking measurement standards, opportunities for socialization or personal support from teachers. Virtual students are partnered with teachers who meet with them and help track their progress, and group activities are arranged throughout the school year, including community days, field trips and club projects.  Academic standards for online schools are just as high as those at other public schools. Our teachers are state-certified, and student academic progress is rigorously monitored by state education officials.

So rather than following State law — which provides oversight by individual County school districts – lawmakers are choosing to ignore what’s in the best interest of our students nor consider current data illustrating substantial progress of each online school.  Worse yet, Senator Glazer has failed to reach out to any parents for feedback.

SB 806 has nothing to do with students, but rather pandering annually to special interests in Sacramento.  That’s why California Parents for Public Virtual Education, a non-profit parent volunteer organization, is alerting online school families throughout the state about SB 806.  It’s time that lawmakers trust parents — and support online public charter schools that address our students’ academic and social needs.  We won’t stand for state lawmakers, such as Senator Glazer, arbitrarily deciding what’s in the best interest of our students.

About the Author: Dr. Nicole Conragan is the president of California Parents for Public Virtual Education, a volunteer organization made up of parents with students in public virtual and blended-learning public charter schools who advocate on behalf of access to online education, quality curriculum, and stable funding.