OnlineChartersSenator Jenifer Bertino-Tarrant is asking both proponents and opponents of online charter schools to take a deep breath and relax.

There has been a great deal of public outcry regarding legislation that creates a one-year hold on further development of online charter schools in Illinois. The delay would allow for studies of similar schools in other states.

Proponents of online charter schools claim that this learning platform is the most significant advancement in the way we educate our children since the internet, while opponents worry that by not properly regulating online education, students could fall through the cracks and not receive a quality education.

It was because of the growing controversy that Senator Bertino-Tarrant chose to sponsor the legislation, which passed out of the Senate Education Committee today.
“I am not at all opposed to the idea of advancements in the way we educate our children,” Sen. Bertino-Tarrant said.  “I just feel that more concrete information is needed before we can comfortably move forward with such a drastic change to the structure of K-12 education in Illinois.”
There have been numerous conflicting reports on the performance, curriculum and quality of the for-profit companies who already offer online K-12 education options.  There is a lack of information on these companies’ abilities to carry out specialized support for special needs education.  Further, there are functions of a classroom learning environment, such as social integration and extra-curricular opportunities, that would be absent via an online learning platform.
Bertino-Tarrant believes that a year-long study should produce enough research and analysis to aid the state in making the best decision moving forward.
“I am a firm believer in the notion that the most successful ideas stem from experience and planning,” Bertino-Tarrant said.  “To that end, I do not yet believe we have done our due diligence on the subject of online charter education.”
The bill, HB 494, passed out of the Senate Education Committee 9-3 with one member voting “present.”  It will now head to the Senate floor for further action.

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