The fascinating and unusual saga of public, online, K-12 charter schools in Oklahoma continues. According to today’s NewsOK article, “Oklahoma online charter school has new sponsor,” the University of Central Oklahoma will no longer serve as the official sponsor of Epic One on One Charter School:
A University of Central Oklahoma spokesman says UCO has agreed with the founders of Epic One on One Charter School that Epic will withdraw its application for a charter school with the university. Bill Hickman, an attorney for the charter school, says UCO provided “monetary compensation” to Epic but neither side will say how much. Hickman says Epic has a new sponsor but declined to identify the organization. He says Epic plans to open for the 2011-12 school year.
No explanation is provided in the article for why UCO dumped Epic One on One Charter School. The website for Epic One on One, epiccharterschools.com, as of this evening still includes a linked logo of UCO in the lower left corner of the site with the tagline, “We are sponsored by the University of Central Oklahoma.”
If, as Bill Hickman stated for today’s article, Epic One on One has a new sponsor, why on earth isn’t that information represented on Epic One on One’s website or their Facebook page? Some really interesting political maneuverings have taken place surrounding the issues Epic One on One Charter raises in Oklahoma, and I’d love to know more of the backstory. For more about what I have discovered, see my podcast from 22 July 2010, “Free, Online K-12 Education Options for ALL Oklahoma Students via Epic One on One Charter School,” my 19 August 2010 post, “Legal Fight Over Publicly funded Charter Schools and Online Education in Oklahoma,” and 12 December 2010 post, “Virtual K12 Enrollments in White Oak PS, Oklahoma.”
Do you have insights into the backstory of this situation with UCO and Epic One on One Charter school? If so, please comment here and/or contact me directly. Do we need more online education options for Oklahoma K-12 students? Absolutely. If you haven’t already, read “Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns” by Clayton Christensen, Curtis Johnson and Michael Horn. Differentiated, customized, online learning is an important part of the educational landscape today and will be tomorrow. It’s not a panacea, and online education is not going to completely supplant face-to-face instruction and learning, but it IS going to significantly disrupt our educational status quo.
I’d like to know why the University of Central Oklahoma has pulled its support of Epic One on One Charter School. Did specific Oklahoma state leaders put pressure on UCO administrators to drop the charter school? Who have the main advocates and cheerleaders for Epic One on One Charter School been at UCO? Did the ongoing lawsuits filed by the Oklahoma State Department of Education against Epic One on One Charter convince UCO leaders this innovative educational endeavor was too costly to continue supporting? I haven’t read anything in Oklahoma mainstream media articles or blogs which sheds light on these questions. If you can, please speak up.
Full Disclosure: I’m again working at the bottom of the UCO faculty food chain this semester, as an adjunct instructor teaching, “Technology 4 Teachers.”
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