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  •  I actually know what I'm talking about (1+ / 0-)
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    Unlike most of the rest of you, I actually have a daughter in a publicly funded, charter, virtual school.   So, I know of what I speak.  

    Folks, there is another side to this story.   Families NEED  a virtual school option.   I don't insist that it must be a charter school, but that seems to be the way that states can get it done, and get it done right now instead of ten years from now.

    There is a very heavy atmosphere of CT surrounding the whole charter school / virtual school debate.    There are serious, RATIONAL, reasons that states need virtual schools, and why they would choose to use charter schools to manage virtual schooling services.   I'd really ike to see DailyKos do what DKOS has done in the past, and discuss it RATIONALLY.    I feel like I'm on a wingnut site.

    We have separate school districts in my state, under which charter schools are allowed to operate.   This appears the be the most effective and efficient method of providing the option of virtual schooling to families.  While some see it as competition to the public schools, another way to look at it is to draw HOMESCHOOLED kids back under the umbrella of public schooling.

    Individual school districts just don't seem to have the bandwidth to manage a separate virtual school.   Separating those kids out into a different district seems to make it easier for states to manage.   And, districts seem to find it easier to just write one check to a charter than can focus on this one specialty than to actually build up the completely new infrastructure required for virtual schooling, which will draw their attention from their main business, owning and operating brick-and-mortar public schools.

    I have one daughter in my local public school.   I am an advocate for our local public school.  But, OUR LOCAL PUBLIC SCHOOL DOES NOT HAVE THE CAPACITY TO COPE WITH MY DAUGHTER'S ILLNESS.     Nor does any traditional private school.  Our options were virtual school or homeschool.   I'm not an education expert.  I don't want to homeschool.  I want my State or District to provide an education option that works.   If a public virtual school option is not provided, then we are left with one choice -- full-blown homeschooling, and the State has failed us.    We are having to provide our own education while paying taxes to support a system that failed us.    Private virtual schools are expensive, and not an option for most of us.

    The public school's way to deal with high functioning kids with disabilities is to try to shove them into the typical classroom and ignore their suffering.  My daughter was literally CRYING FOR TWO HOURS AND MORE IN THE MORNING BEFORE SHE COULD EVEN BEGIN THE SCHOOLDAY, she was in so much pain.  She has sensory sensitivity and it is too bright, too loud, too many noxious smells, too many people bumping into her in the hallway which HURTS.   She wears shorts in the winter because pants hurt her legs.   Their definition of a plan that works is to get the kids to stop crying and then say, "See, she's fine."     Torturing young children because you can is not an educational plan.  She needs a low sensory stimulating environment, with control over her rest breaks, WHICH LOCAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS CANNOT PROVIDE.

    At our recent field trip, I asked other parents and students why they virtual schooled.   The most common reason is for medical issues which public schools can't deal with, even with IEP's.     The second most common reason was bullying.  These are high functioning kids with challenging medical problems.   Public schools seem to cope with the severely disabled, and the completely well, but they have a huge gap where their way of coping with kids with disabilities is to shove them with all their might into a typical classroom, and pretend mightily that there's not a problem.    

    It's not working.

    Virtual schooling is an option for kids who need to control their environment.  It is fairly new and not rolled out in all states.   It is being tested out in some states, as new methods usually are.   States who are coming online look at other states to see how they did it.  They did it in my state, and now Michigan is interested, and seeing how we got it done.  

    Please don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.   There are real families out there, my own included, that are struggling with real medical illnesses which public schools can't cope with, and what we need are options.   Now that my daughter is in virtual school, she does not need an IEP.  She manages without any accomodations.   This is possible because our family had access to a virtual school at no cost to our family, and that's because our state chose to allow these charters to exist.  

    So, before you get on your high horse, and get all high and mighty, please tell me...

    What is YOUR solution to providing access to a comprehensive public-funded education for my daughter whose illness makes it physically impossible to attend a local public school, when the school has told us (and we can see clearly) that the homebound program will not work?  

    Instead of telling us what we CAN'T do, tell us what we CAN do!!!!

    Before you obstruct the State of Michigan from providing the virtual schooling option to their kids in a manner that has been demonstrated to work in other states, please tell me how YOU intend to make sure that families in the State of Michigan will get this option, and soon.

    •  There are already (1+ / 0-)
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      special needs programs in place for that in most places, if not ADVOCATE for that specifically.

      Homeschooling is already legal here.  

      But to flush the whole public education system to charter and religious private schools, to kill Unions and make it lowest bidder in a for-profit system is simply ignorant.

      Your tone was dismissive from the 1st line - and I gritted my teeth and red what you had to say anyway.

      Like most people who are getting theirs, you are willing to sacrifice everyone else's child for the sake of yours.

      You need to get off your high horse and quit emotionally screaming at rational people.

      ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

      by Diane Gee on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:02:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've tried the"special needs programs" (1+ / 0-)
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        I tried several variations, including accomodations and homebound, and I explained why they did not work.   They were a complete failure, and the other parents who ended up in virtual education also said they were a complete and utter failure.

        I am not sacrificing other children.   THAT IS AN INCREDIBLY OFFENSIVE THING TO SAY TO ME.

        I am asking the my child not be sacrificed, which is exactly what was happening until the virtual schooling option was provided.   There is no reason that virtual schooling cannot be provided as an option, and every reason that it should be provided as an option, and there are many families out there who can attest that it SAVED their children, rather than "sacrificing" them.

        And, I say this from actual experience with both systems -- WE NEED THEM BOTH.

        •  Again... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          slatsg, thatpj

          I would gladly advocate for virtual schooling for special needs children.

          What I will not advocate is that program being attached to a greater legislation that puts ALL of the US public educational system at risk.

          IF you had read the proposed Michigan legislation you would see that that is exactly what it would do.  It doesn't provide for BOTH.  Obviously your reading comprehension suffers.  They are voting on parent triggers, privatization and using public funding to start for-profit, unregulated schools.

          Your entire post was OFFENSIVE when it started with the line:

          "I actually know what I'm talking about Unlike most of the rest of you"  the "high horse" and "emotionally screaming".

          Pompous, arrogant and condescending.  You don't want people to respond in kind, don't start out like a bitch and I won't be a bitch back.

          We don't get to cherry pick what we like in a bill.  Its pass or fail.  We need to throw these proposed bills out.

          I'd be more than happy to advocate for a new bill that allows virtual schooling for special needs.  THIS BILL IS NOT THAT!

          I'm sorry your school district sucks, I know many Mom's whose districts do allow their kids to go to virtual school if they have handicaps that make mainstreaming unthinkable.

          Lastly, to comment on Michigan's system when you don't live here is really unproductive... since you clearly don't know what our system here is.

          Good luck for your kids, anyway.

          ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

          by Diane Gee on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 10:56:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  PS (0+ / 0-)

            Texas isn't Michigan.

            ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

            by Diane Gee on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 11:04:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I apologize (0+ / 0-)

            I apologize that my tone offended you.  I am very frustrated with people who talk about virtual charter schools as if they are the devil's spawn, particularly since I have not met anyone who has actually attended a virtual charter school who takes this position.  The people in virtual charter schools that I've met are grateful for the opportunity, which many consider a salvation.   Virtual charter schools are actually an excellent tool that fits into an overall public school strategy.

            I would like to ask, though, who are you to decide for families?   Why only allow virtual schooling for certified special needs?   Why do you get to decide what solutions work best for what families?  A huge problem with public schools is a lack of flexibility, an inability to meet the needs of modern families with 24X7 schedules, single parents who have to work jobs that take them out of town, etc.  There is no end to the challenges that modern families face.

            Schools are not keeping up with the demands of modern life.  In fact, in some areas, they are retreating.   When faced with attendance issues, instead of understanding what's driving it and offering more flexible options, they just send the police to people's doors.  And, then schools wonder why families are dropping out, PARTICULARLY families with sick children who are doing everything that they can do, and getting treated like criminals.  Schools are stuck in the same old rut they've been in for decades, wondering why it isn't working.  And, then when states try to innovate, they get hit with this kind of backlash.  By people who have never even tried it.

            The voice on DKOS is overwhelming shrill cry that charters are the end of civilization.  But, my own experience is that they are solving problems, addressing the needs of families who would otherwise be forced into homeschooling, and therefore, EXPANDING opportunities for kids.   Someone needs to speak up about it, and I don't see anyone else doing it.

            •  who are you? (0+ / 0-)

              To decide that in order to have virtual schooling, you would speak FOR a rape the public tax base for profiteering system that would ultimately end in "schooling for the rich" and nothing for the poor.

              Charters are the end of civilization - that being a civilized society offers secular and equal education to everyone.

              Paying for religious filth with my taxes is an abomination to me.  You don't get to decide where MY tax dollars go.

              Move to Michigan.  We already have virtual schooling.

              Now, again, your tirades have nothing to do with the legislation at hand.

              Please quit spamming my diary with YOUR agenda.

              ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

              by Diane Gee on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 01:09:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  There are also virtual schooling options in MI. (2+ / 0-)
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      Diane Gee, slatsg

      My daughter is taking a Japanese class on line, and there are many other options--designed to augment the course offerings that smaller or poorer districts can't provide.

      Furthermore, the proposed legislation has nothing to do with expanding options for students, or supporting students with special needs; it's all about punishment (for "bad" districts) and profits.

      So until you know more about 1) MI's options already in place, and 2) the terrible legislation that is being proposed here, I suggest you refrain from commenting on this topic.

      I'm seeking to organize DKos members in SE Michigan--roughly, from the Ohio line at Lake Erie NE to Port Huron, W to Flint and back S from there. If you'd like to join our new group, Motor City Kossacks (working title), please Kosmail me.

      by peregrine kate on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 11:20:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My friend's son (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peregrine kate

        is autistic and has the virtual school option.   The answer is more money for these programs, not privatizing them.

        I think DWFMom has her own agenda, and is trying to find anywhere to advocate for it.

        Even where it does not fit.

        If she thinks that privatizing education will help her child?  Wait until they start charging her for it, or cut services because the shareholders are bitching.

        ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

        by Diane Gee on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 11:28:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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