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2/10/2004 11:01:43 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Wisconsin Virtual Academy: A Trojan Horse

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 10, 2004

Wisconsin Virtual Academy: A Trojan Horse

Dear Wisconsin HSLDA members and friends:

The annual pressure to persuade homeschoolers to join the government
virtual charter program has begun. Once again, we send you the
following information to warn you of the risks involved in changing
your homeschool from a private homeschool to a government homeschool.
We believe that government cannot outlaw homeschooling, so they are
looking to entice homeschoolers back under government control through
the virtual charter school program.

Recently, homeschool families throughout the state of Wisconsin have
been contacted by Wisconsin Virtual Academy (WIVA), a proposed
charter school to be operated by the Northern Ozaukee School
District. This school district has offered families "open
enrollment" with its school district so they can participate in the
WIVA program beginning this fall.

Many "freebies" are offered to those homeschool families who choose
to enroll their children in the WIVA: free homeschool curriculum;
learning tools (including a laptop computer); access to the Internet;
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 understand the ramifications of this seemingly harmless
program. We want our member families to make an informed decision
regarding participation in WIVA.

REASONS TO NOT ENROLL IN WIVA

HSLDA recommends against enrolling your children in WIVA for the
following reasons:

First, if you enroll in this program, you will no longer be
considered a private homeschooler, and you will not be eligible for
membership in the 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. The WIVA
is a tax-funded, government program with legitimate government
controls and limitations.

Second, the WIVA is a public school. If you enroll your children in
WIVA 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 homeschooler each year.

If the family does not comply, the "virtual" school will demand
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."

Third, HSLDA is opposed to WIVA (and similar "virtual charter
schools" appearing in the state and around the country) because when
you enroll in such a program, you waive the rights that many people
in your state, including Wisconsin Christian Home Educators
Association and Home School Legal Defense Association, have fought
hard to preserve. The government does not offer "free" goodies
without obligation.

For example, WIVA will:

- develop personal learning plans for your children;
- assess your children accordingly;
- require you use its own secular curriculum;
- have certified teachers check up on you;
- require all WIVA students to participate in all required state
assessments; and
- reduce parents to the role of "learning coach."

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.

ADDITIONAL OBJECTIONS TO VIRTUAL CHARTER SCHOOLS

Before you make a decision about enrolling in this program, please
read the articles on charter schools on our web site.

"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

Also, according to the Akron Beacon Journal, a coalition including
the Ohio Federation of Teachers and Buckeye Association of School
Administrators have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality
of charter schools.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=320


Thank you for your prayerful consideration of this important matter.

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Klicka
Senior Counsel
Home School Legal Defense Association




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