This weekend’s Chicago Tribune reports a one year moratorium by Illinois on online virtual charter schools.

Why? To study how online schools deliver on student performance and costs.

Is that really the issue?

I suspect that Chicago’s western suburban school districts are beginning to feel something of what Chicago and other large urban school systems have been feeling for some time. Threatened by social and technological changes.

For years Detroit’s public schools have been emptying into charter and suburban alternatives. Chicago’s experiencing much the same. This seems to be the case for more of the large American urban school systems. And when suburban systems receive the students, they also get the state dollars. Yes, a challenge but also a situation that strengthens survival of suburban systems.

So, what now for the suburbs as we begin to see further splintering of monolithic public education? You can see how the dawning of online education is giving public education systems the jitters.

But what can they expect if the prime outcome of public education, urban or suburban, is not being delivered? And parents and communities begin looking elsewhere?

Whether or not school districts and teachers’ unions like it, change is certainly ahead.

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