A new pilot charter school has been approved in Indiana. “The home-school effect” came up in the Journal Gazette, just as it often does in much of this educational trend’s media coverage, potential vendors’ marketing points, along with many legislators’ concerns.
Charter schools set for online trial run The Journal Gazette
by Niki Kelly Published: July 19, 2009
Legislators included a significant restriction on the student population that could save money.
It says at least 75 percent of the students enrolled in the pilot had to be counted in the public-school enrollment the prior year. This means the state is already funding those students in some school district and the money will simply shift to the new charter school.
But if children who are currently home-schooled enter the program, they will cost the state additional money because those students aren’t covered by state funding now.
One legitimate defense is that homeschoolers do save the state money with our education/funding accountability. That might not be significant to those who want the control, but fiscal conservatives like the notion.
Former elementary school principal and current Sen. Connie Sipes finds the charter school curriculum satisfactory for homeschoolers.
It will be a good curriculum for home-schoolers,” said Sen. Connie Sipes, D-New Albany. “We aren’t paying for them now, so it will cost us more money.
It might be a good curriculum for some homeschoolers, but certainly not all. We can be flexible in fitting the learning around our kids and their particular best education practice styles.
Lynette Quinn presides over the Indiana Families for Public Virtual Schools, and independent homeschoolers can appreciate the “Public” noted in the name. There leaves no doubt who is accountable for the education, financing and accountability.
Lynette Quinn, president of Indiana Families for Public Virtual Schools, discounts the home-school effect, saying many of those families want a Christian-oriented education with flexibility in curriculum that a public school – even a virtual charter school – can’t provide.
She also noted those students would then have to take the state ISTEP+ test.
But it appears that Senator Sipes has a more significant concern (to her); school socialization.
“Call me old-fashioned, but I just think it’s important for kids to be around other kids,” she said. “Learning to interact with one another, to tolerate differences, is part of going to school. I want kids and people in general to learn how to get along with each other.”
History lessons would surely show that socializing was fairly successful in the years before modern public education was conceived. Learning to interact with others, tolerate differences and learn how to get along with each other could be a more likely possibility when you’re not in a classroom surrounded by classmates of the same age and within the bounds of the community.
That is a “home-school effect” that has more possibilities in promoting free-range living and learning.