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Virtual Charter Schools Bring Down State’s Graduation Rate

Virtual Charter Schools Bring Down State’s Graduation Rate

After looking into the reason behind a lower-than-anticipated graduation rate, Idaho officials determined the cause to be in the state’s virtual charter schools, where a majority of students are not graduating from.

eSchoolNews says in state-authorized virtual charter schools, graduation rates for students are just 20 percent, not far behind the graduation rate for students in the state’s alternative schools for at-risk students, which is only 36 percent.

In Idaho’s traditional public schools and charter schools, however, graduation rates are quite good, with 81 and 91 percent graduation rates, respectively.

"Students in virtual charter schools receive their education online, rather than in person. Idaho authorizes and pays for an array of them as options for families,” said eSchoolNews.

Certainly, the news is troubling for Idaho, which saw itself ranked as having one of the lowest statewide graduation rates in the nation.

"Idaho long had relied on figures showing that the state’s high school graduation was high, at 83 percent or more, even as the percentage of students who go on to higher education lagged. But new federal reports this year that make the data comparable between states put Idaho at an overall graduation rate of just 77.3 percent, tying for 41st in the nation,” said eSchoolNews.

Officials at the very least are happy to have determined the “outliers” dragging down statewide graduation rates, and aren’t ready to give up on schools that serve children who don’t fit into the traditional school environment.

“'I applaud the work they do,'...in serving 'the type of student that has not fared well in the public school system,’” said Board of Education President Don Soltman.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

1/29/2016

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