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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Another NCSW@yahoogroups.com CyberSchool Entry

Anothr one on cyber schools taken from NCSW@yahoogroups.com. The individual who contributed this to the listserve asked us to note the use of language that is commonly attributed homeschooling.

From a newspaper in Mount Vernon, Ohio.


Ohio Connections Academy is one of a growing number of online charter schools provides that kindergarten through ninth-grade students can attend from home. The program combines the parental involvement of homeschooling with the expertise of publicly funded education and the flexibility of online classes.

Parents pay no tuition for students to attend the cyberschool academy. Students are considered to be enrolled in a public school. Students are eligible toreceive the loan of a desktop computer. Each family also receives a printer and a payment for Internet access. Students are required to take all state mandated standardized tests in person at locations designated by the school.

As I have started to understand the homeschooling movement a bit better (although it is still largely a foreign beast to me), I have seen that their relationship with the charter school movement, including cyber charters, is an uneasy one. Charter school receive public money, and if a student attends a charter school (cyber or brick-and-mortar), they are part of the public school system and no longer a homeschooled student (homeschool people - correct me if I'm wrong on that one).

Yet, when I read literature on the cybercharters, it appears that many of their clients (i.e., students - but since they are based on a competitive business model, I'll call them clients as it is more appropriate) are homeschooled or formerly homeschooled children. In fact one of the advantaged listed by Bill Bennet and the K12, Inc. is that they school can provide curriculum that homeschooling parents can use with their children. See my confusion?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are correct in saying that students who are enrolled in cyber charter schools are no longer LEGALLY homeschooled. There may be some exceptions where students can keep their homeschool status while they take a course or two from a public virtual school. But even in that situation the students are not being homeschooled *thru* that public virtual school that may or may not be chartered. To be enrolled in a ps program is to be a ps student.
If a homeschool family decides to enroll their child in a virtual charter school, they may decide to also continue being involved in a local homeschool group. Legally, the students may not be hsers, but they may look like hsers to others. That is confusing. And K12 also offers a curriculum which the parent can purchase, and in that case, the student would be homeschooled. It's the legal status that one has to consider. Usually enrollment in a public school program or cyber charter nulls and voids the legal status of homeschooling (the state laws may not use the specific term of homeschooling--may be some varying in the term, but not the principle).
Hsers, in many cases, are uneasy and leery of the confusion of homeschooling terminology and of being legislatively roped into the strings and problems that come with cyber charters. Strings that are necessary for the program users. It becomes an issue of accountability when public funds are involved. To have the most independence and freedom to homeschool, one must not take public funds.

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote: >>but they may look like hsers to others.>>

I caught my own error. :)
Clarification: Hsers don't look any different from ps'ers per se. LOL
I am referring to situations where cyber charter schoolers often run in the same circles as hsers.

5:21 PM  

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