All home educators are urged to become informed about virtual school choices in
Support for SDVIP Enrollment Expansion
With respect to the petition, found at http://www.flvirtualfamilies.org/petition/ and this particular phraseology: "In looking at this law, it is a great tool for those parents that would choose to homeschool." …
It's important to remember that SDVIP is great tool for those interested in having a *public school education option that they can administer from home*. Participants need to understand that the laws under which those enrolled in this program would provide that education are different from homeschooling laws.
The petition calls on
Grammar issues aside, the bill doesn't actually discriminate against homeschooled children or anyone else. This is a procedural issue, not a home education issue . Transferring to SDVIP should be handled as any public, private or homeschool program transfer is handled, using existing Florida State Board of Education transfer rules.
Opposition to SDVIP
Long time home and private school lobbyist Brenda Dickinson, of the Home Education Foundation, is concerned about the Senate version of SDVIP legislation, SB 534, for other reasons, principally her contention that SDVIP "will lead to the demise of home education as we know it."
In a recent email, referencing a Christian Broadcasting Network article titled "Online Charter Schools Proving Popular" she contends:
"Parents are going to be more confused about virtual education than they were last year if Charter Virtual Schools are created in Florida. This year some parents who have enrolled their children in the School District Virtual School Programs (SDVIP) are forming their own support groups and asking for membership in the Florida Parent Educators Association. They think they are home educators. However, students enrolled in a SDVIP, using K-12, Inc and
"The type of school listed (in the article) is NOT a virtual school; it is a distant learning program. A box of books and materials are delivered to the child's home and the parent is the primary instructor. With the cost of curriculum and private education in these uncertain and difficult economic times, the charter virtual school described below will appeal to many parents. These programs contain highly structured curriculum with 180 days of lessons sent to the parent with a distant teacher provided who checks on the student periodically. Notice that the teacher only has to contact the student once a month. Since the State requires schools to provide 4 to 5 hours of instruction a day for 180 days per school year, these private programs are requiring parents to provide 4 to 5 hours a day per child for 180 days per school year. The State will now bear the cost (about $5500 per child) of these children who will be enrolled in a public school run by an at-home private school with the parent as the primary instructor. Though it sounds a lot like home education, it has the structure and standardization of a private school.
The virtual school induced death knell has been rung for homeschooling for almost ten years now. (For the record, almost identical complaints were leveled at FLVS at the time, even though now, FLVS is lauded by many of the same homeschoolers as a model virtual program for home educators.)
Home education is,in fact, changing and has been since its inception. But that's different from suffering a "demise." More people than ever are aware that they can in some great measure influence and direct their children's education, perhaps not as completely as some of us have chosen, but more than many more people ever would have considered doing.
Get the Facts
With any of the virtual school arguments or supplications, important points of clarification should be:
- Sources and evidence for "slippery slope" arguments of doom;Specific studies regarding virtual school program effects on home education;
- Specific instances of school district strong-arming (some emails claim school districts are performing portfolio reviews with the intention of intimidating parents into choosing SDVIP programs);
- Focus on real issues: equitable application of uniform transfer rules, or truth in advertising for SDVIP programs – issues that apply across the board to all families trying to make informed decisions.
You can read more about HB 7067 at
And about SB 537 at http://bit.ly/2ZPaKm
Thoughts and insights are welcome, as is additional information that others may find helpful in weighing their options.