When the virtual schools first entered the scene homeschoolers in some states were bombarded with marketing mailers that claimed that homeschooling could be scary and that their program was just like homeschooling, but a bit better due to their educational experts. This type of marketing continued at the virtual school presentations and some of us would point out that certainly their program might be a good fit for some families, but although the school was at home, it was not the same as home education since their program required public school enrollment. The salesman would always reply that it all depended on how you define homeschooling. I have never, nor do I now want to define homeschooling, home education or unschooling because it IS whatever works for each and every family. However, I did and still do object to any public school claiming to be like homeschooling, thus bringing us into a world of definitions that many homeschoolers chose to leave behind.
It turns out this image of the virtual schools being like homeschooling, but a bit better is not serving the virtual schools as well as they would have liked, so as of late, the virtual schools are trying to separate themselves from the homeschooling, but better image that they created.
This latest report illustrates their attempt to disconnect from homeschooling now that they are being questioned for being “similar to homeschooling” and they are attempting to remove the image that THEY worked so hard to create. Here is the link to the article and a few snippets.
Court Ruling Threatens Virtual Schools
Last Edited: Thursday, 17 Jan 2008, 6:58 PM CST
Created: Thursday, 17 Jan 2008, 6:58 PM CST
By RYAN J. FOLEY
Associated Press Writer
CROSS PLAINS, Wis. — Seventh-grader Marcy Thompson cried when she heard that a court had ordered the state to stop funding the virtual school she has attended for the last five years.
The ruling, the first of its kind in the U.S., placed the Wisconsin Virtual Academy at the center of a national policy debate after critics raised a key question: Do virtual schools amount to little more than home schooling at taxpayer expense?
<snip>Virtual schools generally require parents to lead daily lessons. Licensed teachers monitor students’ progress through e-mails, online classes and tutoring.
But students do not spend their whole day in front of a computer. Marcy does homework, takes interactive online lessons about once a week and is a member of a math club that meets in person.
Last month, the appeals court ordered the state to stop funding the academy, ruling that parents were the primary educators — a violation of a state law requiring public school teachers to be licensed.
Her mother, Julie Thompson, said learning from home is a better option for her daughter because she is easily distracted. Marcy agrees and says she prefers the online interaction with teachers and students to the isolation of home schooling.
I value truth in advertising and I appreciate them setting the record straight, but they would have done us all a favor had they marketed these schools as a new form of public school to begin with and NOT as home education reform.
Posted by Mary Nix