Charter School Requests Blocked By Nevada Board of Education

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The state Board of Education has blocked requests by three groups seeking to open or expand charter schools in Nevada.

All three requests concerned "distance learning," a form of learning in which the instructor and student are in different locations and communicate through traditional and non-traditional means.

The board deadlocked Saturday on separate requests by the Nevada
Virtual Academy and Nevada Connections Academy to bring distance
learning to students in kindergarten through third grade.

A board subcommittee's scheduled application review was canceled
Friday for Insight School of Nevada, which seeks to launch an online program for at-risk students.

Board President Marcia Washington said she was concerned about
the impact that distance learning would have on the development of
social skills in young students.

Other board members wanted to see performance data on young children enrolled in distance learning, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Former board member Gary Waters, a member of the Insight School
start-up group, criticized opponents of the requests.

"I think they owe the public an explanation of why they're saying no to things," Waters said.

State Sen. Terry Care, D-Las Vegas, an attorney for Nevada Virtual Academy, said he'll talk to his clients about a possible legal challenge.

Laura Granier, attorney for the Nevada Connections Academy, said
distance education is lawful for all grade levels.

Last fall, the board imposed a temporary freeze on the approval of new charter schools in Nevada, citing inadequate staff to monitor a growing number of such schools.

Board members said the freeze was necessary because the state
Education Department is being overwhelmed by applications to create
charter schools, which offer alternatives to traditional public
schools.
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Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-03-09-08 2050EDT


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