Thursday, February 09, 2006

A bit of a controversy

There is a bit of controversy going on over at the ILHS Announce List on Yahoo groups. It's over one of the hot button topics in Illinois Homeschooling and I think on more of a national level too. This involves K12 Inc.

Apparently Chicago is thinking about using the K12 virtual program. See this article from the Chicago Sun Times titled, "Virtual Academy idea may become reality."

Here's where I differ from many of the vocal opponents of this plan. I think all parents have a say in how to educate their children. I, a homeschool mom of four, do not have the right to tell you how to obtain the best education for your child. I believe in parental educational choice. I am increasingly frustrated with some homeschoolers who are "against" programs that allow children to complete their public school education from home. They are schooling at home, but they are not enrolled in a private homeschool. I've heard all the arguments about people aren't bright enough to know the difference between homeschooling and public school at home. I think some of that is just ridiculous. I know there are a few who don't get it. I do not think that gives others the right to try and cut off a parent's choice to choose public school at home.

In my career as a nurse, I saw many children with cancer, sickle cell, burns etc who had to stay at home to do their public school at home. A program like K12 inc would have made a huge difference. Instead, the families had to struggle with teaching plans that weren't meant for anyone other than the person who wrote them. This on top of a child struggling with a serious, sometimes deadly illness was just too much stress. Then caretakers had to deal with scheduling for a teacher to come for a minimal visit where not much was accomplished in addition to ferrying the child back and forth to clinics, hospitals, and labs and working around home health care providers.

The dropout rate at some of the high schools is astounding. Dropouts are no longer the traditional dropout. They are kids who are afraid to be in school and their parents cannot afford to place them in a private school and are not homeschooling them. There were two shootings recently across the street from the high school I graduated from. I thought that school was dangerous when I was there.

Last night the topic at my Girl Scout meeting was mostly about the violence the kids see every day at school. They've seen violence their entire education. A substitute teacher "smacked" a girl at the local middle school. There was a fight at the local middle school where a fish tank was broken and five children not involved in the fight were injured. A fourth grader took a gun to a local elementary school and was showing it to kids. Just another week in central Illinois. One of the girls said she doesn't want to go to high school. Who can blame her? No one is looking out for our children.

I am not going to lash out against charter schools whether the work is completed at home or in a brick and mortar building. I am not going to be against K12 inc if they can do a good job with educating children who need an education. I am for parent choice in education. I will now step down from my soap box.

Homeschool Legislation Watch
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