Thank you for Tom Bell’s thorough and balanced piece in the Sunday Telegram on virtual schools (“Multinational giant set to run first virtual school in Maine,” March 16). Pearson and K12, the two companies behind these charter applications, are indeed large and perhaps a little scary, but the opportunities far outweigh the risks.

Both companies have the capacity to offer a rich diversity of challenging courses with sophisticated teaching techniques developed through large-scale experience. Their track record is strong, considering how often they attract students who are not doing well in conventional school settings.

As a board member of the applicant that has not yet been granted a virtual charter, I can attest that the Maine Charter School Commission put both applicants through their paces to ensure that Maine students receive the best that either of these companies can offer.

With virtual schools now available in 31 states, the commission is able to take advantage of what other states have learned in order to create new and challenging opportunities to help more Maine children succeed in school.

Peter Mills

board member, Maine Virtual Academy

Cornville