Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
- Mahatma Ghandi

Welcome to LIFE of Florida!

Our secular and inclusive Florida-wide Informal Education support group acts as a resource center and clearinghouse for homeschoolers, informal learners and alternative educators interested in enriching their learning environments and maximizing their learning opportunities, as well as an advocacy center for Curiosity Driven Learning.

There is no cost to be part of LIFE of Florida -- just join in at our email discussion and announcement list, Florida LIFE, where you can download your membership card -- good for educational discounts throughout FL -- and stay informed and updated on events, issues and resources, and connect with other informal learners throughout the state.

If you're just getting started in homeschooling, be sure to check out our LIFE of Florida Quick Links, our list of Useful Docs, and our enormous collection of resources in the side columns, and visit our Inclusive Homeschool Support Groups page to find a group near you.

If you'd like your regional inclusive support group to be networked with LIFE of Florida, drop us a line with a group description, contact and other relevant information and we'll add you, free of charge, to our directory. All your group members will be automatically considered members of LIFE of Florida, and are entitled to membership cards and all the benefits we offer. Virtual school families are also welcome to enjoy our resources, support and camaraderie.

We're all inclusive and free of charge, and we're here for you!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Florida Virtual School Needs Support

From Florida Virtual School:

Dear FLVS Parent and Florida Families,

We have just had some alarming news from Tallahassee. The Florida Senate PreK-12 Appropriations Committee has adopted a series of budget and policy changes (SB 1676 - PDF) that will have a substantial negative impact on FLVS and the level of services it currently provides to students, parents, and school districts. The list below describes how such actions will impact you.

The cuts are more drastic than other proposed cuts to other Florida school districts. These cuts would eliminate 7th period course offerings and online elective courses, and they would limit student choice of online courses to the core academic courses.

What does this mean for you and your child if this bill passes?

If you are a student, …
• you will no longer be able to take the elective course that FLVS offers like AP Art History, AP Computer Science, web design, Life Management Skills, personal fitness, and maybe even foreign languages;
• you will no longer be able to accelerate by taking additional courses with FLVS after school;
• who has failed a required course in either middle or high school, and your public school offers no summer school option, you will not have access to FLVS and will likely to be retained and repeat an entire year of instruction;
• you will no longer be able to accelerate via FLVS courses and enter college or the workforce early;
• you will have limited access to FLVS courses that are not offered in your traditional public school;
• your class size in the brick and mortar school may increase dramatically;

If you are a parent, …
• your child will no longer have access to elective courses at FLVS, only core courses will be offered ;
• whose child is enrolled full-time in a public school, your child will no longer be able to take an additional course at FLVS, eliminating acceleration and grade forgiveness options;
• with a child who has failed a required course in either middle or high school, and your public school offers no summer school option, your child will not have access to FLVS and will likely to be retained and repeat an entire year of instruction;
• your child will have limited access to FLVS courses that are not offered in your traditional public school;
• whose child is taking an FLVS course, his/her class size will increase dramatically;

What does it mean for the state of Florida?
• It means that Florida will have to pay more per student. The Tax Watch study in 2007 estimated that FLVS saved taxpayers about $1000 per student each year.
• It means that Florida students will not be able to accelerate or take extra courses to prepare for college or careers.
• It means that Florida may lose its place as the thought leader in online education, and maybe even destroy the nationally #1 ranked on-line program in the country.
• It means that rural districts will be deprived of access to enhanced curricular choices.

FLVS cannot fight this battle by itself! Each of you needs to get involved. Please take the time to call and email your local legislators and tell them NOT to allow this proposed budget to remove the opportunities and choices that FLVS provides to you and your children, not to mention the cost savings to the state of Florida.

Tell your legislators your FLVS story. Has FLVS helped your child in certain ways? What did you think about the relationship your child, your child’s FLVS instructor, and you developed? Have you ever spoken to your child’s teachers that much?

It is not too late! Florida legislature will listen to you! Pick up the phone right now, and call your local legislators and the members of the four education committees. Tell Florida legislators to not single-out FLVS when making budget reductions.

Find your local legislators (Senator and Representatives) here:
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/representatives.aspx

http://www.flsenate.gov/Legislators/index.cfm?Tab=legislators&CFID=37274819&CFTOKEN=79073907

_____________________

Contact FLVS at info @flvs.net if you'd like more information. FLVS has been a great friend to homeschoolers in Florida and thousands of homeschoolers have benefited from AP, foreign language and other advanced, extracurricular and accelerated course material. It's been a win-win situation for students and the state of Florida for more than a decade.

If you've valued your FLVS experience, please let legislators know. If you've been waiting your turn to enjoy this great resource and don't want to loose it, please let legislators know. It's a community education program that works for tens of thousands of students in Florida like few other things have.

Terri Willingham
http://LIFEofFlorida.blogspot.com
www.learningis4everyone.org

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