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Home schooling

Religious families see benefits of ‘virtual’ schools

From Religion News Service: Since Florida became the first state to try them in 1996, virtual public schools have enjoyed dramatic growth, with at least some of it coming from religious families. Like home-schooling parents, parents of virtual public school students like having their children home so they can integrate religion and values into the school day. In the 2011-2012 school year, 275,000 students were enrolled in online K-12 programs, up from 50,000 a decade ago, according to “Keeping Pace with Online and Blended Learning: A Guide to Policy and Practice 2012,” a report from the Colorado-based Evergreen Education Group. Currently,...

Emerging market in public education is a good thing

Words such as voucher, privatization, profit and corporation are often used as weapons by individuals and groups who oppose parental empowerment and school choice. Using words as weapons is especially common during periods of significant social change - we all do it - but the practice undermines civic discourse and makes finding common ground more difficult. “Market” is another term school choice opponents use to connote evil, but our way of life is largely based on markets, and public education is increasingly embracing market processes as customized teaching and learning become more common. Our challenge moving forward is regulating public...

Florida roundup: Rezoning snobs, home-school stereotypes, Rick Scott & more

School funding. Gov. Rick Scott wants to spend additional revenue on public schools, reports the Florida Current. Funding and other education issues are woven through a mid-term progress report on Scott from the Tampa Bay Times. Rezoning. The Seminole school district is swamped with proposals, reports Orlando Sentinel. Affluent parents respond with “snobbery,” writes Sentinel columnist Beth Kassab. (Image from coolsprings.com) Florida gets a B- for ed reform policies, according to a StudentsFirst report out today, the New York Times reports. That ties it with Louisiana for the top grade. A dozen states get F’s. Best year ever. 2012 was a year...

A better definition of public education, a better debate about what we want from it

In a recent post, I argued that because customized teaching and learning have so blurred the lines between public, private and homeschooling, it is now most practical to define public education as education which satisfies each state’s mandatory school attendance law. We require students to be educated to achieve a public purpose; education that satisfies this purpose should be considered public education, regardless of how that education is funded, delivered or governed. I was careful in my post not to assume public education and public schools are synonymous. Most states define public schools as those schools owned and managed by...

Florida roundup: Homeschooling, voucher accountability & doubling down on reform

Vouchers and accountability. Gov. Rick Scott’s call for “voucher” students to take the same standardized tests as public school students is long overdue, editorializes the Tampa Bay Times: “Voucher proponents can't have it both ways,” it concludes. “They can't claim they are a good bargain for taxpayers but then be unwilling to prove it.” “Yes we are!” House Speaker Will Weatherford gives Tony Bennett a thumbs up on Twitter after a critical Tampa Bay Times column says the selection shows the state is doubling down on Jeb Bush ed reforms. Gradebook. A look at Bennett’s re-election upset in Indiana. Tampa...

A better way to define “public education”

For the last 150 years, we have assumed “public education” meant publicly funded education, but in this new age of customized teaching and learning this definition is too narrow. Today, it’s more useful and accurate to define public education as all learning options that satisfy mandatory school attendance laws, including those that don’t receive public funding, such as private schools and home-schooling. Education - especially public education - has taken many forms in the United States over the last 300 years. According to Pulitzer Prize winning education historian Lawrence A. Cremin, in the 1700s education encompassed institutions “that had a...

Florida home-schoolers dive into STEM

In the factory’s tiny lobby, a dozen middle-school-aged boys and a handful of parents stood shoulder to shoulder in front of the company president, a soft-spoken man with a pen in his shirt pocket. He held up one precision-crafted, metallic piece after another and explained how angles and radiuses, aluminum and titanium, came together through man and machine to create amazing things. This gizmo goes on a Black Hawk helicopter, he said. This one, on a Javelin missile. And this one? “You all saw the Curiosity land on Mars?” he asked. Heads nodded. Well, he said, his company made some of the...