The article in Sunday’s newspaper wrongly focuses on the for-profit status and lobbying ties of the virtual school educational service providers while failing to address the need for school choice for all of Maine’s students.

For-profit companies are not new to education; neither are lobbyists. The teachers have lobbyists, as do the superintendents. The relevant group in the educational system without lobbyists is the students.

I volunteer as president of the governing board of the prospective Maine Virtual Academy charter school. I have two children whose educational needs were not met in high-ranking public schools.

Age-based education meets the needs of many students but by no means all. I have one child who attends a private online high school run by a leading research university. I have another who, effective this fall, will take middle-school classes from two universities, as well as K12.

Online education is not new. Thirty states allow for full-time virtual education. It is not for everyone, but it clearly works for many families across the country. Typically, in states with long-standing open enrollment, virtual schools account for 1 percent of the school population.

Our board is committed to bringing quality, mastery-based virtual education to Maine. If authorized as a charter school, we will be party to a contract with the Charter School Commission. This contract will include measurable goals for academic growth and proficiency that we have established for our school community.

Our governing board will be accountable to the commission. K12 and the head of school will be accountable to our board.

Virtual education will open a vast, well-researched curriculum to all students of Maine. Let us not lose sight of the best interest of our students.

Amy Carlisle


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