Wednesday, May 11, 2011

K12Online and South Carolina Virtual Charter school Choose Making Profit Even If It Means Making Children Sick

Online learning seemed to be a godsend for Gretchen Herrera’s son who was bullied and struggled in mainstream school due in part to having Asperger’s Syndrome and Type 1 diabetes.  The flexible schedule, additional freedom in class choices and the many benefits that online learning affords, worked very well for this motivated tween.  


...Until it came to test time.  Like thousands of other parents around the nation (see Facebook groups like this one), Gretchen and her child’s doctors knew that opting out of standardized tests was in the best interest of her child’s physical and emotional well-being yet, when she contacted the curriculum provider K12 Online and the local provider South Carolina Virtual Charter school (SCVC) her concerns were dismissed. K12 Online passed the buck and refused to get involved and South Carolina Virtual Charter school informed her that her concerns would be disregarded.



Gretchen is among the growing number of parents whose children are being forced even against parental concerns and strict doctor’s orders (for original doctor letter visit this link) to take lengthy and widely recognized as ineffective standardized tests. Gretchen has offered to provide alternative means of meaningful assessment, but that’s no good for this one-size-fits-all school and curriculum provider who have dismissed or ignored her requests. SCVC, the local provider, informed the Gretchen that her son must take the test, even if it is detrimental to her child’s physical and emotional well being. They indicated that failure to comply would result in him being kicked out and denied an education.  


When did schools and/or content providers begin dismissing parents or worse bullying them and forcing they choose between their child’s health and a proper education???  Have schools forgotten what it was they were supposed to do?  Have companies like K12 Online become government puppets not intervening when their local providers are making decisions that result in children becoming ill?  

While morally such decisions are not in the best interests of schools, staffs and companies like K12 Online, unfortunately, many are succumbing to the almighty dollar even if it means making our children sick.  There are big bucks in these children’s test scores and they are needed for schools and companies like K12 Online to rake in the bucks.  Prominent on K12’s site is investor relations information.


Gretchen wants to partner with her son to own his learning and receive the education to which he is entitled without getting sick. Unfortunately, it seems greed and compliance are ruling the lair.  Like many parents, Gretchen believes it is her right to expect schools provide an education for her child without subjecting him to weeks of torturous tests that make him ill.  Isn’t America a country that provides opportunities for learning rather than forces compliance at the risk of our children’s emotional and physical well-being?  Sadly, that no longer seems to be the case.  


We are living in an America where parents and our children need protection against the demands of a compulsory system of schooling if we want our children to grow up as happy, healthy, and successful adults.  Gretchen and thousands of other parents  (like those here, here, and here) are desperately seeking those who will offer such protection.


To read the heartbreaking story of Gretchen’s fight with the educational system to get her child the education she believes her son deserves visit this link and read additional details on Facebook here.
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