AUSTIN, Texas – Connections Education, LLC announced their resignation from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) last Friday, making them the 28th company to leave the conservative corporate bill factory in recent months. Connections Education, LLC runs the Texas Connections Academy, which operates one of Texas’ most well-known virtual schools.
In a statement Connections Education’s senior director of public relations, Allison Bazin, said that the company withdrew from ALEC to better align “our affiliations with organizations whose central focus is education.”
“Virtual schools are a $24 billion industry with zero accountability” said Matt Glazer, Executive Director of Progress Texas. “ALEC’s promotion of virtual schools, carried out through the Texas Public Policy Foundation, has provided unregulated financial windfalls to a few insiders by shortchanging our children’s education. We’re pleased to see Connections Education leave ALEC, and hope this makes Texas lawmakers think twice about the role these online education corporations play in our children’s education.”
In May of 2012, Progress Texas released a report – “Invisible Schools, Invisible Success” – that traced the moving pieces of the virtual school movement in Texas. The report details how ALEC and the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) have promoted virtual schools in Texas, like the Texas Connections Academy, despite the failed learning techniques and severe lack of accountability that plagues Texas’ virtual schools.
Meanwhile, a July 2012 study by the National Education Policy Center, based out of the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder, released an extensive study of virtual schools that concludes with a serious warning about their rapid expansion:
With the rapid expansion of full-time virtual schools, and with the outsized political involvement of key companies that aim to extend market share, the world of online learning is becoming increasingly controversial. Aside from proclamations of politicians and advocates, claims that full-time virtual schools are working are not substantiated by empirical evidence.