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Illinois

March 16, 2009

House Bill 2591: Virtual Public School

Author:
Representative Linda Chapa LaVia

Summary:
Creates the Virtual Public Schools Act. Defines “virtual school” as an independent public school in which the school uses technology in order to deliver a significant portion of instruction to its students via the Internet in a virtual or remote setting. Requires the virtual school to be evaluated annually by its sponsor. Sets forth requirements for students of the virtual schools. Sets forth requirements and prohibitions for the virtual school. Provides that each virtual school teacher must be qualified to teach in Illinois under existing law. Provides that any student who meets state residency requirements may enroll in a virtual school.

Status:

2/20/2009(House) Filed with the Clerk by Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia
2/20/2009(House) First Reading
2/20/2009(House) Referred to Rules Committee
2/25/2009(House) Assigned to Elementary and Secondary Education Committee
3/13/2009(House) Rule 19(a) / Re-referred to Rules Committee

Hearings:
This bill failed to pass, and is now dead.

HSLDA’s Position:
Oppose.

Action Requested:
No action needed at this time.

Background:
HSLDA recommends against enrolling your children in this program for the following reasons:

  1. If you enroll in this program, you will no longer be considered a private homeschooler, and you will not be eligible for membership in Home School Legal Defense Association. Our goal at HSLDA is to protect the right of parents to privately homeschool free from government controls and restrictions. Online charter schools are tax-funded, government programs with legitimate government controls and limitations.
  2. This virtual school is a public school. If you enroll your children in a virtual public school to receive your free curriculum and laptop, your children will no longer be considered private homeschool students, but rather public school students. This means you waive certain parental rights and agree to homeschool according to the public school’s rules. In other states with similar “virtual” charter school programs, HSLDA has observed that more and more regulations are gradually placed on the enrolled homeschooling family each year. If the family does not comply with the regulations, the “virtual” school will demand return of the computer, curriculum, etc. Some families who have disenrolled have even been turned into the local child welfare agency. Homeschoolers who become dependent on the “free” government equipment and funds find that their freedom is gradually exchanged for these “freebies.”

HSLDA is opposed to virtual public schools (and similar “virtual charter schools” appearing around the country) because when parents who enroll in such programs waive the rights that many people in the state have fought hard to preserve. The government does not offer “free goodies” without obligation.

This is not the free, private homeschooling that has been so successful for many years. It is simply an attempt by the government to create small public schools in our homes.

For more information on similar programs, please read “Charter Schools: The Price is Too High” by Christopher J. Klicka.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History