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*** Longish post below ***

Hi y'all,

Sorry for posting about this so late, but thought I'd try to provide some background on K12 and where they stand. First, a disclosure: I am the Product Manager for K12's Online School. I make no policy decisions here and the comments presented are basically my own (i.e. not an official K12 response).

It is most definitely the case that K12 (as well as any other company that manages cyber schools) have come under attack from the HSDLA. Additionally, any state that in which we apply for a charter also brings about an attack from the NEA. So you might say that we sort of get it from both sides. Having said that, K12 is first and foremost, devoted to the development and distribution of a world-class curriculum. Many people associate us solely with publich cyber-schools, but as one poster pointed out I think, we have many, many people who simply purchase the program on their own and teach it exactly as they see fit.

Secondly, K12 is very aware of the fine work that HSDLA does for homeschoolers. However, it seems that the HSDLA movement against virtual charter schools is an attempt to thwart the choice in education that they faught so hard to achieve in the first place. Change and fear of the unknown always brings about concern, and I can certainly understand HSDLA's fear that if VCSs are widely adopted by the states, then that would allow for in-roads into systematizing and monitoring homeschooling. I personally do not believe this will happen; however, I could be wrong, so it's perfectly OK to be wary and pay close attention to developments in this area. But to seek to bar it from existance seems a bit extreme. Further, even if that remains the goal, I have seen postings from many of our community (both those in VCSs and those who use it to HS) expressing the anguish and pain they feel from the attacks targeted directly at them. These people who have decided that a cyber school is the road for them, are usually not only barred from attending the local homeschooling meetings they had attended for years but verbally harassed for their decision. If you want proof, go to a board like Vegsource and post something to the affect of "you're thinking about joining K12's charter school and what do you think about that?"

The fact is that K12 wants to provide a top-notch education to as many people that want it. Currently, parents have the choice to teach it on their own, teach it through a virtual charter school (with actually minimal dealings with the virtual "teacher") or even potentially in a brick and mortar environment. Obviously, many or most of those who have chosen to homeschool their children have become so disillusioned with the public school system that they are scared to death of having their children have anything to do with it ever again. We want to change that (but not at the expense of removing your choice to home educate). But hey, what if there were to be a sort of revolution in which you could actually get some benefit out of your tax dollars and educate your child with a top notch curriculum, and basically, all you had to do in return was enter the amount of time you spent educating each day and have a conference call with your virtual "teacher" every couple of weeks (which by the way deal mostly with the teacher asking the parents if they have any questions). This is the way it works now, you could ask anyone currently using K12 through a VCS. Of course that could change and other states may have different requirements of a VCS. But right now, it is the choice of a lot of families who have homeschooled in the past (and actually consider themselves homeschoolers still).

Sorry for the long post, but just wanted to give a K12 side to the story and lastly, point out that we certainly don't "whine" about anything ;). Thanks.

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