My newsfeed sent me several articles today about two public virtual academies, one in Texas and one in Colorado. I know families that use the same public k12, Inc. program in my state and love it, but they understand it is public school at home. I have found that these days, most families that use these programs do understand that their child is enrolled in public school, but I’m always interested to see whether the media and the schools themselves portray these as homeschooling or public school?
When I read this article, Texas Virtual Academy lets kids attend public school online, by Karen Ayres Smith, I was happy to see she got the details correct when I read:
The program looks a lot like home-schooling, but it carries far more requirements: Professional teachers monitor students’ attendance and academic progress every day. The students must also pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills tests.
I can’t speak for Texans, but I did want to offer a few of the rights and responsibilities accompanying the school for those Texans who may be interested in enrolling their child in the program.
The Texas Virtual Academy@Southwest does explain it well here:
What does it cost to attend the Texas Virtual Academy@Southwest?
As a public charter school program, there is no tuition. TXVA@Southwest loans students a computer system and provides all instructional materials for the program. However, students and families will be responsible for providing some consumable materials (such as printer ink and paper).
What tests are required as part of the program?
TXVA@Southwest’s student assessment includes:
* K12 lesson, unit, and semester assessments
* Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS)
* End-of-course exams prepared by a Texas universit
Also, here are the Texas Homeschool Laws and Regs from Home Education Magazine.
My newsfeed also sent along this article from Colorado about two working parents who have children enrolled in COVA.
Some families find time to educate kids while both parents pursue their careers
By Melanie M. Sidwell
In the 2005-06 school year, they enrolled their older son at a local charter public school, but the boy, because of his asthma, missed a lot of school days and did not thrive in class.
So last January, she opted to homeschool her son using an online public school out of Adams County called COVA, or Colorado Virtual Academy.
The article doesn’t clarify, but I’m glad to say that COVA does explain it well. This is from the FAQ section of their site:
MYTH: Virtual schools lack the required curriculum of public schools.
FACT: COVA is a public school that happens to operate outside of the traditional classroom. As public school students, your children will be expected to spend a certain amount of time each day engaged in schoolwork. They will also be required to take standardized tests mandated by the state of Colorado. K12′s curriculum was developed by experts to meet or exceed Colorado state standards and is the top-scoring virtual academy curriculum in the state.
Here are the Colorado Laws and Regs from Home Education Magazine
Perhaps the law now requires it, or perhaps schools are learning honesty is the best policy, but I am encouraged to see some reporters and these two schools offering accurate information that will help to empower parents.
Posted by Mary Nix