Thursday, August 03, 2006

This is NOT Homeschooling

Many people are still considering what they are going to do for the upcoming school year. State controlled virtual charter academies are a tempting possibility. I've seen a few homeschoolers mention them as a possible choice for their family. Many of the virtual schools are even using the term homeschooling or home education in their advertising to attract traditional homeschoolers. Take a look at what Washington State's offering on its website,

We provide a superior, tuition-free, state approved curriculum for grades K-8 delivered right to your home.

Partner With Teachers Who Share Your Passion for Home-Based Education. Although parents play the leading role in day-to-day lesson delivery, assessments, and time management, they are never alone in the education process. In fact, at WAVA, they interact with teachers on a regular basis, learning to navigate teaching techniques, pacing issues, comprehension challenges, positive reinforcement techniques, and other facets of the instruction experience.

The pace of learning fits your child's needs. Your family's values shape the environment...

Expect your teacher to be a consistent presence.

As much as they would like to believe it, the state is not our partner in the education of our children. The reality is this is NOT a partnership at all. Their passion is for control and money. They retain control and you are under their authority even while in your own home. When they say, "Expect your teacher to be a consistent presence." That's exactly what they mean. This attempt to lure homeschoolers back into the system is just one example. Many states are losing students to homeschooling. This is one way to bring the children back into the public system. They are willling to compromise on location (ie. home) but they are not willing to compromise on control. From the state's perspective your children are public school children. And most parents I know with children enrolled in the public school don't feel like they are a "partner" in their child's education. The school runs the show. This is "public schooling at home" not homeschooling.

This article says it best,
The foundation of the original fight for homeschooling was freedom. Many virtual academies and cyber charter schools begin with leniency, but over the years, rules creep in, subtle new policies begin to crop up, and gradual restrictions choke out your choices at home like crab grass run amok. This sets a precedent to increase regulations on other students who are educated at home, whether they're enrolled in a virtual academy or not.
This headline and story from Pennsylvania confirms that suspicion. More Accountability for cyber charters is reasonable goal for proposed law.
[C]yber charters should be held to the same standards as ''regular'' charter schools and the state's 501 public school districts. All three, after all, are public schools. The cyber charters are different, of course, in that they are a form of homeschooling.
This is NOT a form of homeschooling. I've gone over this before and probably will again, and so has Susan, Daryl, Mary, and Valerie. This will be a constantly recurring theme as parents look into the alternatives to public education and the state continues to push virtual academies. This article from Wisconsin and this one from Washington State. shows it seems to be working.

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