Defense Authorization Bill Clears Senate: Changes Enlistment Policies for Online Charter School Graduates

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WASHINGTON, D.C.- The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) today released the following statement from interim president and CEO Ursula Wright in reference to the FY12 Defense Authorization Bill passing the U.S. Senate:

"We are encouraged that this bill updates the military recruitment and enlistment policies to provide parity for online public school graduates. Virtual charter schools follow federal and state guidelines and must adhere to all accountability standards. Students graduating from these schools are equivalent to students graduating with a degree from a brick-and-mortar public school. Were happy to see the U.S. Congress taking the steps to ensure the Department of Defense updates its policies.

"Online charter schools are increasingly popular and effective next generation learning models that can provide students with individualized learning opportunities. Today's technology facilitates these experiences, offering students direct access to content that will build their knowledge and skills, while simultaneously assessing performance, providing immediate feedback, and storing and tracking student data over time. It is important that policies, particularly at the federal level, support innovation as we move into the next frontier of education.

"Graduates of online public schools, operated either by charter schools or school districts, are currently considered Tier II candidates for the purposes of military enrollment the equivalent of a GED despite the fact that they fulfill all of the same graduation requirements established by their state of residence as their brick-and-mortar counterparts. This policy is a result of old attrition data being used to establish tiers; the Tier II category was established before online public schools even existed. The FY12 National Defense Authorization Bill creates a provision that would provide parity for online public school graduates in military recruitment and enlistment policies. It also calls for the Secretary of Defense to prescribe a policy on recruitment and enlistment that incorporates data from each diploma source of its recruits in order to analyze attrition rates. This bill, including these provisions, passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this summer.

"The NAPCS, along with the International Association for K-12 Online Learning and K12, Inc., have been actively supporting changes to the military recruitment and enlistment policies to better keep with the growing trends in education delivery. The bill will now go to conference committee to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions before heading to President Obama's desk for his signature."            

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector.