Re: “Our View: State-run virtual school better choice for Maine” (Feb. 28):

I disagree with the broad stroke you paint that full-time virtual charter schools are a bad fit for public school students.

At the public hearing on the proposed virtual school moratorium, students explained reasons for needing a full-time virtual school. They include bullying, too much downtime, teachers asking advanced students to teach others and being asked to sit next to disruptive students. A parent shared that his son has been taught the same curriculum for four years. Their need for another educational option is real.

Your repeated use of negative terms to denigrate for-profit virtual charter schools is hypocritical, since Maine’s public schools do business every day with for-profit, out-of-state vendors.

Virtual charter schools threaten to change the way public education works by empowering parents with choice among public schools. This is the real issue.

About 2,000 Maine students dropped out of public schools last year. Maine’s students can’t wait two to three years for a state-run virtual school.

The Legislature is wrong to prevent the Charter School Commission – which, by law, evaluates, authorizes and monitors new public charter schools – from doing its work. The commission does an intense review, negotiates performance contracts and evaluates all public charter schools carefully for student achievement.

The Maine Connections Academy and the Maine Virtual Academy failed to gain approval twice, for the right reasons. The Connections Academy’s third application has met the requirements.

With such strong accountability measures for public charter schools, including virtual and blended programs, Maine has an opportunity to help more children succeed. Maine’s charter school law is highly rated for its accountability and rigorous evaluation.

The Charter School Commission is doing its job. Don’t cut its legs off just to maintain the status quo – we’ve lost too many smart kids.

Cheryl Clukey

Augusta