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10/24/2007 5:05:26 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA: Beware New Hampshire Virtual Learning Academy

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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October 24, 2007

New Hampshire Virtual Learning Academy:
Free Lunch for New Hampshire's Homeschoolers?

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

All over the country, private homeschoolers are hearing from local- or
state-sponsored virtual schools. It's easy and free, the schools
promise. You can continue to homeschool and we'll give you all the
equipment you need, including curriculum, "free consulting," and more.
However, many homeschoolers are wary of these too-good-to-be-true
offers.

Just recently, New Hampshire has joined the ranks of states who have a
government-supported virtual charter schools. However, New
Hampshire's virtual school is somewhat different from other states'.
And it is possible that, properly utilized, participation in the
school may benefit New Hampshire homeschoolers.

However, there are risks associated with enrolling in this
government-funded program. Please carefully consider the information
below before enrolling your children in the school.

First, the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School ("VLACS") is a
public school. When you enroll your child in VLACS, he or she is no
longer considered a private homeschooled student, but rather a public
school student. This means that the student is ineligible for HSLDA
membership benefits and services.

Enrolling your child in VLACS also means that you are agreeing to
waive some of your parental rights. You are also agreeing to educate
your children according to the public school's rules and regulations.
While this may not at first appear to be dangerous, HSLDA has observed
that these schools tend to increase the regulations each year, thereby
gradually restricting freedoms.

For example, VLACS will:

> Develop personal learning plans for your children that must comply
with state requirements;
> Assess your children according to state requirements;
> Require parents to use the school's secular curriculum;
> Have certified teachers check up on you;
> Force parents into the role of "learning coach."

Second, while VLACS does not offer many of the enticements that other
virtual schools offer (such as free computer equipment), it does offer
something that many of our members would not pay for if they had to:
free secular curriculum.

Many of HSLDA's members choose to homeschool so that they can freely
communicate their values and faith to their children. While an
occasional course from a secular perspective (an AP calculus course,
for example) may not pose a problem for a homeschool family,
indiscriminate supplementation of a homeschool program with VLACS
curriculum could introduce content and values many homeschoolers try
to avoid.

Our goal at HSLDA is to protect the right of parents to privately
educate their children, free from government controls and
restrictions. VLACS is a tax-funded, government program with many
controls and limitations. It is not the free, private homeschooling
that has been so successful for many years.

Please, carefully analyze the risks and benefits associated with such
a school, and seriously consider alternatives. As a homeschooling
parent, you are responsible for making choices regarding your child's
education. Choose wisely.

ADDITIONAL OBJECTIONS TO VIRTUAL CHARTER SCHOOLS

Before you make a decision about enrolling in this program, please
read the following articles:

"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,

Michael P. Donnelly
Staff Counsel
Home School Legal Defense Association

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-> How many news articles did you read this morning over your
oatmeal?

We live in a world where concise information presented at the
right time can make a big difference in the outcome of important
legislative efforts. Yet it's tough to keep up with all the
issues that affect you. HSLDA does this for you in the areas that
affect your homeschool. Our emails and website enable you to
take quick, decisive action. Please consider becoming a part of
this team.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1923

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