The joke is that dead people vote in Chicago. Apparently they go to school in Indiana. Stephanie Wang, reporting for Chalkbeat Indiana, has an article about the Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathway Academy which, among a number of other abuses, kept a dead kid on their claims for state money for two years after he died.
Five years after two students moved to Florida, they reappeared on enrollment records for Indiana Virtual School and its sister school.
And nearly every one of the more than 900 students kicked out of Indiana Virtual School and its sister school in the 2017-18 school year for being inactive were re-enrolled the next school year, included in per-pupil funding calculations that netted the two online schools more than $34 million in public dollars last year.
These were among the ways that Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy allegedly inflated their enrollment to at least twice its actual size, according to the findings of a state examiner’s investigation released Monday.
Definitely click through to see the whole article. If the allegations in there are true, someone should go to jail. Heads would roll if this was a public school manipulating its Average Daily Membership (ADM) in this fashion. The virtual school superintendent responded by reminding everyone that these weren’t great students and also freedom.
In a written response to the state education board, Clark did not address the enrollment discrepancies but defended the online schools for serving “last-chance students” who have dropped out of or been expelled from traditional public schools — even if they weren’t active.
He accused state education officials of trying “to remove educational choice and force students to remain in school environments in which success has evaded them and where hope has abandoned them.”
“The beacon of hope has just been doused,” Clark concluded.
Also, I’d add that if you make public money for voucher schools contingent on providing actual services to actual students then the terrorists win. Obviously.
There are studies that suggest that, with rigorous oversight and a generally solid public education system, charters can sort of work a little bit. That is not at all the route Indiana is going. Subsidizing religious schools, busting teacher’s unions, and diverting public money to friends and well-wishers does not require that sort of oversight. So, we’re not likely to get it.
[Edit: I improperly used the word “voucher” in the title, edited to reflect that these schools were charters. As the article points out, “Daleville Community Schools, the rural district that oversees Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy . . . receives 3% of the virtual charter schools’ state funding, a fee for monitoring the schools that amounted to about $1 million last year.”]
Scott Tibbs says
The headline is a bit of an overreach. Obviously there should be oversight, and this is a pretty obvious fraud. But it’s unfair to lump all charter schools in with this.
It is a bit unfair, but in my extensive experience with charter and voucher schools, most of these schools are playing fast and loose with their numbers and finances.
Reuben Cummings says
At least those dead kids were given the chance to decide what is best for their education, right?
Mark Thomas says
The point you avoid is that taxpayers don’t get an accountability system. That’s denying the citizens of what truly is best for children’s education as well as best for public resources.
“The Dead Deserve Choice Too!” might be a good campaign slogan.
Stuart Swenson says
Arriving a little late in the discussion, but if Education is written into the Indiana Constitution, shouldn’t there be some assurance that kids are getting what they have been guaranteed and nobody is playing fast and loose with the assurances? If this is a state where they want to be sure nobody is playing fast and loose with welfare, shouldn’t education be in the same boat, especially in a “conservative” state?