One of the educational options we have available to us in this great state is the charter school. Charter schools can be great options for many reasons and there are many great charter schools to choose from. I was recently speaking to a friend who has her children enrolled in Doral Academy. They’ve had a great experience. Though the axiom “all things are not created equal” holds true in the case of charter schools.
A subset of the public charter schools are the online or virtual charter schools. These are state sponsored schools that do not meet in a building but through various ‘virtual’ means. In most cases the student never leaves home, which causes some confusion when students and/or parents believe that they are homeschoolers. It is important to understand that homeschooling is a specific term defined in Nevada law. It is distinct from the law that defines a charter school student, which is was the virtual charter school student is. To differentiate homeschooling from the charter school student we use the term public school at home (PSAH).
Recently there has been trouble with multiple PSAH programs. Nevada Virtual Academy was recently forced to cease operating for grades K-5 because of repeated failures to meet state standards, which earned them a 1-star rating – the lowest possible. They were also forced to cap the number of students the academy was allowed to take on for the other grade levels. NVA is not the exception. Connections Academy has a similarly shoddy record. In fact, online charter schools in general score poorly across the board.
The PSAH issues have caused many parents to contact Nevada Homeschool Network seeking answers, often believing that they are already homeschoolers. NHN often fields questions about how to enroll in the NHN homeschool or how to enroll in homeschooling. Most of these questions are easily cleared up, but the problem remains. With the closure of PSAH options many students/parents will be pushed into homeschooling. Homeschooling is an excellent (the best!) option for well prepared and equipped families, but it can be a disaster to those who are not so well prepared and equipped. Will legislators in Nevada be well informed enough to be able to differentiate PSAH failures from homeschooling?
State legislators have a lot on their plates. Being well informed about every nook and cranny of the law is not possible. Part of the mission of NHN includes educating legislators about what homeschooling is, the history and achievements of homeschooling and what is/is not homeschooling. NHN is run purely by volunteers and donations. Every legislative session we do our best to keep our state government well informed of homeschooling and homeschooling laws in our mission to advocate for homeschooling in Nevada. Have you joined us as a supporting member? Are you willing to support the mission by volunteering?
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