The Manitowoc School District has decided it knows better than parents what form of education is best for students.

Media Trackers is reporting the school district is blocking any student it can from attending an online charter school during the current open enrollment period. Outside the regular open enrollment period in spring, parents can still transfer their students to another school district, including online charter schools, provided the home district approves. The Manitowoc School District is not approving the transfers.

Business Services Manager Ken Mischler told Media Trackers that if the district could deny virtual school requests during the open enrollment period, it would.

When we asked if that means they won’t entrust parents with their child’s educational choices he said “I’m not going to answer that question.” Mischler said parents choose virtual schools because they don’t have all the information about them.

Mischler complained to Media Trackers that students come back from online schools to the district often behind their peers. That may be true for students for whom online schools did not work out. It’s not a panacea, any more than any educational program in any traditional school is.

But for many students, online education is a blessing. What Mischler does not understand is that online schools are often the school of last resort for some parents who discover that, for a variety of reasons, a traditional brick and mortar school is not working for that student at that time. Perhaps it’s a behavioral issue. Perhaps the student is being bullied. Perhaps the student is gifted in an area outside of school and it makes more sense for the student to have the flexibility of an online education.

Regardless, parents are in a better position to know what their child needs than a business manager for a school district.

When these cases are appealed to the Department of Public Instruction, state Superintendent Tony Evers should not let his gubernatorial ambitions (and his need to cater to the teachers unions) get in the way of allowing parents to choose what’s best for their children.

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