A study on how to launch Louisiana’s first online charter schools is off to a rocky start amid controversy over the panel doing the review and access to its meetings, reports the Advocate of Baton Rouge. The Virtual Education Study Group was formed last month after three controversial online charter proposals were filed with the state education board. Members of the special 16-member panel were named by board President Keith Guice. But some board members say the makeup of the study panel is too narrow and not what the board envisioned. In addition, they say visitors were discouraged from attending the study group’s organizational meeting on Oct. 29, which was a public session. Board member Penny Dastugue said earlier suggestions by state education department officials were not carried out, including the addition of members who would give state officials a national view of online charter schools. Backers of online charter schools say they represent a new era of public education. But critics question whether the state is ready to educate hundreds of students at home via computers and other equipment that make up virtual schooling…

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