March 22, 2006
There's more than one way to skin a Badger. So when the Wisconsin Education Association lost its initial legal battle to close the state's first cyberschool (the WEA said the school violated Wisconsin charter and open enrollment laws) it took another tack. In a suit filed in 2004 against Wisconsin Virtual Academy, the teachers union claimed the school depended too heavily upon parents, and not state-certified teachers, to educate their children. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Joseph McCormack ruled that Wisconsin Virtual Academy's parent-teacher partnerships fall within the broad authority of school boards to decide what's best for students. Moreover, nothing in the law requires teachers to spend a set amount of time in the same room with a student. Though only a lower court ruling, supporters of cyberschools are confident McCormack's words will aid similar schools popping up across the state. "It can't be illegal for a parent to be too involved," said the school's attorney. "If parents had to be certified to engage in any activity that might be considered teaching, that would make illegal much of the activity that goes on ... in conventional schools." The WEA's next move? Why, unionize parents, of course!
"Ruling supports virtual schools," by Katharine Goodloe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 17, 2006