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Date:
From:
Subject:

10/22/2002 4:29:11 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Arkansas Virtual School

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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October 22, 2002


Dear Arkansas Members and Friends,

Recently, homeschooling families throughout the state have been
contacted by Arkansas Virtual School (AVS), a new public school
program funded by a 5-year U.S. Department of Education grant.

Many "freebies" are offered to those families who choose to enroll
their children in AVS: curriculum, learning tools (including a
computer and internet access), software, access to certified
teachers, and more. Of course, all the materials are secular in
nature.

On its face, this looks like a good deal. However, Home School Legal
Defense Association members and all homeschooling families across the
state should be aware of the ramifications of this seemingly harmless
program. We want our member families to make an informed decision
regarding participation in AVS.

REASONS NOT TO ENROLL IN AVS:

HSLDA recommends against enrolling your children in AVS 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 work
to protect the right of parents to privately homeschool, free from
government controls and restrictions. AVS is a tax-funded, government
program with legitimate government controls and limitations.

2) AVS is a public school. On AVS's website, under the "Frequently
Asked Questions," a subtitle asks: "Is this [AVS] homeschooling?" The
answer: "The Arkansas Virtual School is a public charter school. It
is not homeschooling." The website further states that "AVS is a
public school of choice."

If you enroll your children in AVS to receive free curriculum and a
computer, 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"
public school programs, HSLDA has observed that more and more
regulations are gradually placed on the homeschooler each year. If
the family does not comply, the "virtual" school will demand the
return of the computer, curriculum, etc. For those homeschoolers who
become dependent on the free government equipment and funds, their
freedom is gradually exchanged for these "freebies."

3) By enrolling in AVS, you will be waiving certain parental rights.
The government does not offer "free" services without obligation.

For example, AVS will:

- have certified teachers supervise you;
- require all AVS students to participate in required state
assessments; and
- require you to use their selected, secular curriculum. Their
website states that "since AVS is a public school, religious
instruction is not part of the school's curriculum and cannot count
for school credit."

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

Lastly, before you make a decision about enrolling in this program,
please read the articles on charter schools that have appeared in
HSLDA's Home School Court Report.

"Charter Schools: The Price is Too High" by Christopher J. Klicka
http://www.hslda.org/courtreport/V18N1/V18N101.asp

"Charter Schools: Look Before You Leap!" by Roy Hanson
http://www.hslda.org/courtreport/V18N1/V18N102.asp

Thank you for your prayerful consideration of this important matter.

Sincerely yours,


Christopher J. Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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