Many electrons, and much ink, have been employed in the discussion about the programs for public-school-at-home, also known as cyber-charters, e-schools, ISPs and other noms des programmes educatifs, so to speak. Some people think the programs are an excellent way for families to ‘dip their toes’ into homeschooling, while other people aren’t quite so sure about the ‘dip.’ Many people see a service to all families, while others have seen a movement to return children, specifically homeschooled children, to the public school system. So far there has been no noticeable trend toward returning private school students to public schools.
In the instance in the clipping above, provided by a reader from Licking County, Ohio (who also provided the underscoring and the date), the intent is clear: bring homeschoolers back into the “fold” as if homeschooling families are errant sheep who have strayed from their appointed pasture.
On the theoretical plane, one doesn’t mind the provision of services. After all, what is best for one person, or for one family, isn’t necessarily the best for all. But why are homeschoolers the target and not private-school patrons? What makes a ‘strayed’ homeschooled child different from an ‘strayed’ privately-schooled child? Since the parents of privately-schooled children are already in favor of a brick & mortar venue for their children’s educations, why aren’t those families also the focus of ‘programs’ designed to bring them back into the public schooling “fold?”
No private school mention is made in the article, but it continues on with the homeschooling theme:
- “Last year, almost 200 students living in the district were home-schooled.”
- “A representative from Calvert School Education Services, the group working with the academy on home-schooling materials, will discuss Calvert’s home school curriculum in at least three grade levels: 2, 4, and 8.”
- “‘With these programs, we would like to stay as unobtrusive as possible, because parents of home-schoolers have chosen that route for a reason,’ [Ms. Ward] said. “
Never is there a word in the article about marketing any programs to private school students. Why are the schools so interested in homeschoolers, but not in private schoolers?
The reader who provided the newsclipping said that, in addition to the marketing by the Newark Digital Academy, a group called TRECA also provides a digital online program marketed to families in her area. At one of the site’s links, a pop-up window found by clicking informs the online reader that, “TDA [TRECA Digital Academy] students are given an iPod to use free of charge. Until the student graduates, TDA owns the iPod. Upon graduation, it is theirs to keep.”
Do all publicly-schooled teens in Ohio get complimentary iPods upon graduation?
Marketing is a fact of modern day life, and not so modern day life, too. But today’s targeted marketing, especially when one is seen as an errant stray, is tiresome, both from the viewpoint of the ‘target,’ and from the viewpoint of the taxpayer who may be paying for the latest gizmo as bait.