Saturday, June 04, 2005

No kiddin'

According to an article in The Oregonian, charter schools are confusing:

The Oregon Education Department sent a memo on rules to school administrators across the state Wednesday, said Cliff Brush, an education specialist with the department, after a comprehensive review this school year found confusion surrounding rules governing publicly funded programs serving home-schoolers.

"I think the lack of clarity made it possible to have programs like these operating without being certain whether they were in or not in compliance," Brush said. "I'm not sure that everyone was well informed about what the rules are."

Village Home Education Resource Center ("a self-described hybrid center") contracts with school districts to educate homeschoolers (emphasis mine. This could be the premise of a punchline to a joke: An educrat, a charter school administrator, and a homeschooler walk into a bar...).

The new memo says, among other points, that home-schooler programs getting public money "must assist the students in achieving the local and state academic
standards" -- basically that the home-schoolers have to reach for the same
standards as other students in the state.

The decision is a blow to groups such as Village Home, a Washington County program that serves about 250 home-schooled students, currently with tax dollars. That group had already chosen to forgo public funding and raise money privately for the next school year, in the wake of an education service district's review.

The change means that the center will no longer have to conform to the same Oregon Department of Education rules and could have greater freedom... [and that ]conforming to the evaluation "would have turned us into a school, a full-time program, and that's not what we are," Walker said.

My understanding is that Village Home will now be considered a sort of resource center for homeschoolers as opposed to a "hybrid" charter school. The Family Resource Center in Massachusetts is a private-owned business. One of these days, it'd be great to have a resource center in the Metro.

HT: Diane Flynn Keith

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