December 12, 2014

The Common Core and Virtual Public Education

William A. Estrada, Esq.
Director of Federal Relations


Will Estrada has been leading our efforts to defend homeschooling on Capitol Hill since 2006. As the oldest of eight kids, and a homeschool graduate who married a homeschool graduate, he has a passion for protecting homeschool freedom. Read more >>

The Common Core’s impact on public schools is well known. Forty states are now in the process of aligning their public school curriculum with these nationalized standards. Meanwhile, many parents and teachers are concerned that the Common Core is resulting in a dumbed-down, politicized education being pushed upon America’s school kids using unproven teaching methods.

In the growing backlash to the Common Core, some parents—fed up with increasing centralization and loss of parental control over education in the public schools—are choosing to homeschool their children. Private and home education remain outside the reach of the Common Core (although HSLDA has written about the Common Core’s potential to encroach on homeschool freedom).

But there is one particular area of education where families may not realize they are being affected by the Common Core: online public education, which includes virtual charter schools and any other online programs offered through the local public schools.

New Alignment

These programs use the same curriculum, testing, data storage, and privacy policies as the local public school. If your state has adopted the Common Core, every course offered through these virtual public school programs is either already aligned with the Common Core, or very soon will be.

There is no escaping it. Any end-of-year tests offered through these programs will be aligned with the Common Core. And all of the information that the school district collects or requires parents to submit as part of these programs will be stored in the public school’s database.

HSLDA has long been concerned that these programs, marketed to homeschool parents as a way to receive a free computer and other support from the local public schools, carry a risk to homeschool freedom. Nothing from the government is actually free, and these virtual public school programs can open the door to public school officials looking over the shoulder of families who use them.

Because these online courses are actually public school programs, HSLDA is unable to provide legal representation to our member families in connection with any children enrolled full-time in them.

We understand that homeschooling is not always easy or affordable. That is why we partner with the Home School Foundation to offer support, funding, and even free curriculum to homeschool families who are struggling. Due to the generosity of our members, there are other alternatives besides using online public school programs.

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Read More

HSLDA Resources on the Common Core

HSLDA Resources on Virtual Public Education

HSLDA Resources on Databases and Privacy

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