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Survey: Bullying among reasons students pick virtual schools

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A survey has found that many Oklahoma students who’ve enrolled in a virtual charter school left their previous school because of bullying or problems with school administration.

The study was commissioned by the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, which oversees the state’s four virtual charter schools, The Oklahoman reported .

Indiana-based Thomas P. Miller and Associates conducted the survey and presented the results to the board Tuesday.

“Many parents and guardians we interviewed were motivated (to attend a virtual charter) by what they perceived as issues and problems at their non-virtual school,” said Brian Points, director of research at the consulting firm.

The study found that opportunities for acceleration or remediation and more parental involvement were also factors in choosing to enroll in a virtual charter school. Parents were also drawn to the flexibility virtual schools offer when compared to a traditional public school, Points said.

Students enrolled in a virtual charter can complete online-based curriculum in a more individualized manner than traditional schools.

Oklahoma’s virtual charters serve a combined 12,000 students, which is less than 2 percent of the state’s total public school enrollment.

However, parents were concerned about a lack of social opportunities for students enrolled in a virtual school, Points said.

Critics of virtual charters say there’s not enough state oversight and the institutions have largely failed to show academic success. The state’s virtual charters primarily received D’s and F’s on the most recent state letter grade system. None of the schools scored higher than a C.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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