Saving the children

From the horror of getting an actual, full-fledged education:

For the last decade, cyber charter schools have been springing up all over the country. Cyber schools give classes over the Internet to students in grades K-12, who get their education entirely online instead of in a brick-and-mortar location. Despite the lack of research into these schools’ educational quality, in recent years some states have removed limitations to their growth.

Pennsylvania is one such state pioneering cyber charter schools. As of the 2012-2013 school year, 16 of its public schools were cyber. Students could attend those programs free, subsidized by federal, state, and local tax revenue.

On Friday, the founder of Pennsylvania’s bigger charter school — PA Cyber — was charged with fraud, for funneling $8 million of the school’s funds into his personal companies and holdings. Nicholas Trombetta allegedly used the tax payer money to purchase a plane, houses for his mother and girlfriend, and a million dollar Florida condo.

The indictment raises questions about whether regulatory bodies need to monitor cyber schools more closely.

4 thoughts on “Saving the children

  1. Education for profit under the Capitalist economic construct always ends in corruption. As it does in every other situation. For profit prisons for instance. Or war.

  2. There’s actually a good bit of research on how well online schooling works. The more advanced and motivated the student, the better it works. The less, the worse.

    Schools, with hordes of inexperienced students whose agenda is recess are just about the worst situation for online education.

    There are places with a lot of experience in it. Australia has been running long distance education for decades to serve kids in the outback. They have lots of good advice for anyone who wants to try it, but just a couple of highlights:

    — It’s essential to have face-to-face time, so the rural kids are brought to the closest center and stay in a boarding school-type situation for a week at the beginning and at the end of the semester.

    — It’s essential to have interaction with the teachers, so the kids have specific times to talk with them several times a week. They did this even in the good old days of one-way field radios. Result is that online teachers must have much smaller classes than classroom teachers.

    When you do all that and more, all of it expensive and time-consuming, then you can get online education at the school level to work.

    Think that’s what the US school districts have in mind? Of course it is! They want the best for the kids, right?

  3. There’s also the case of the young woman trying to get into college only to find out that her cyber ‘degree’ was worthless. Worse than no degree, she didn’t get credit for anything. She had no high school records at all.

  4. I wonder if Trombetta taught the school’s business classes.
    It sounds like he’s well-qualified.

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