Virtual Classrooms: an Exit Strategy From Toxic Public School Culture?

By:  Beverly K. Eakman
11/30/2011
       
Virtual Classrooms: an Exit Strategy From Toxic Public School Culture?

Homeschooling and the computer: a match made in heaven? In many ways, yes. Homeschoolers can access lessons from online sites to successfully complete their education goals, but with a couple of caveats.

First, the online lessons must be separate from public schools. Take the recent debate over a Herndon, Virginia-based provider of full-time public virtual schools called K12 Inc., with its various nationwide components, such as Virginia Virtual Academy, Florida Virtual School, and Massachusetts Virtual Academy. These are always incorporated into one of the states’ official public school districts. Thus, the twist on K12 Inc.: the word public, meaning tax-supported, and therefore subject to government oversight, with all the various “strings” and biases that go along with the federal government’s schools.

 

Homeschooling and the computer: a match made in heaven? In many ways, yes. Homeschoolers can access lessons from online sites to successfully complete their education goals, but with a couple of caveats.

First, the online lessons must be separate from public schools. Take the recent debate over a Herndon, Virginia-based provider of full-time public virtual schools called K12 Inc., with its various nationwide components, such as Virginia Virtual Academy, Florida Virtual School, and Massachusetts Virtual Academy. These are always incorporated into one of the states’ official public school districts. Thus, the twist on K12 Inc.: the word public, meaning tax-supported, and therefore subject to government oversight, with all the various “strings” and biases that go along with the federal government’s schools.

K12 Inc. is presented “as a way to teach a small segment of the home-schooled and others who need flexible schooling.” “For many kids, the local school doesn’t work,” the Washington Post article quoted Ronald J. Packard, chief executive and founder of K12, as saying. He added: “And now, technology allows us to give that child a choice. It’s about educational liberty.”

Post writers Lyndsey Layton and Emma Brown allow that “virtual education has evolved into an alternative to traditional public schools for an increasingly wide range of students — high achievers, strugglers, dropouts, teenage parents and victims of bullying among them.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Beverly K. Eakman (photo)

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