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Wednesday
Feb132019

Stewart Bill to Provide Oversight for Virtual Charter Schools Passes Education Committee

Legislation Designed to Support Academic Success of Online Charter Students

SB 429, Sen. Mimi Stewart’s bill to provide oversight for virtual charter schools to ensure that students enrolled in online charter schools are able to succeed, passed the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.

“It’s 2019,” Stewart said. “It makes sense that technology is integrated into education. However, unless students are succeeding and schools are serving student needs, technology will hurt—not help—education. That is why I’ve introduced legislation to ensure that virtual charter schools serve their students and promote the highest academic standards.”

Under Stewart’s legislation, charter schools that provide instruction exclusively online need to be chartered by the Public Education Commission if their students are from more than one school district; if a school serves students from only one school district, then their charter will come directly from that district.

Further, virtual charter schools could only enroll a limited number of students until the school demonstrates academic success. After meeting initial success benchmarks, virtual charter schools would continue to be held to high standards through rigorous reviews in order to maintain student achievement.

“Public education—whether administered through an online charter school or a brick-and-mortar school—must be focused on student success,” Stewart said.

SB 429 now moves to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration. It will further be heard by the Senate Finance Committee before moving to the Senate floor for a vote by the full Senate.

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A retired teacher, Senate Majority Whip Mimi Stewart has served two years as chair of the Legislative Education Study Committee. Prior to becoming a state Senator, Stewart served 20 years in the New Mexico House of Representatives, where she chaired the Education Committee. Stewart lives in Albuquerque. Learn more at www.mimistewart.org and follow her on Twitter @Sen_MimiStewart and on Instagram @mimistewart9.