Cyber flexibility helps
My 7th grade son is scoring in the 99 percentile nationally and has benefitted from cyber school in two very important ways. First, he is very gifted and was suffering in classes teaching five-letter words when he could memorize a Tom Clancy book in three hours. He was not able to learn quickly enough, and so was naturally discouraged academically. The public school system was not coming close to his ability level. He just skipped the past two years of math. He wishes to be a general, yet he needs to excel at a higher level to get into military school. We also know someone who was in a cyber school and was recently accepted into Carnegie Mellon University.
The second reason is because he recently suffered from severe asthma, hospitalization, and needs special medical attention which often takes all day because we have to travel to Pittsburgh. This was difficult for the school district and their attendance policies. Some medical appointments are necessary to restore health, and there are sometimes only a few openings with the best doctors. I also take the cancelled appointments which are often at the last minute. So, in my experience, the flexibility of cyber school is extremely helpful.
In conclusion, cyber school helps my son recover in a remarkable way with fewer hassles and more flexibility to learn. This asthma can be life threatening, so my right to be a responsible parent to help him get the best medical therapy for normal daily living will help him with his future. The local school won't even pay for students to attend the state science fair. I believe my son will have a great future contributing back to his community some day because of this chance to heal and have academic excellence in cyber school.
Carolyn Peaslee, Indiana
The path of the future
My children were enrolled in three different schools in one year. They were denied access to the first school because of zoning, we removed them from the next because of violence between the teachers and students, and finally we removed from a charter school because of insufficient teachers and resources. In addition to the lack of resources and teachers, the charter school was adjacent to a half-way house; it was not uncommon to find one of the residents roaming the school halls. My children went from being honor roll students to being left behind because they had insufficient grades reported.
When my husband and I learned about cyber schooling, we decided to make some drastic changes in our lifestyle. He changed jobs, I quit my job, and we pulled our children out of school. It has been amazing!
In the beginning my children were resistant, they had successfully learned how not to learn. We had a very difficult time motivating them, they really believed that there was no point in learning because it did not matter if they did the work or not. From January 2007 until now, myself, my husband, and my children's teachers have worked together to find new ways of encouraging and motivating them.
Now we have a school set up in my basement and they work together, allowing for everyone to receive a well rounded, complete education. Even my one-year-old likes to lie on the floor and write. Two of my friends are having similar experiences with their children's school and both are planning to enroll their children in the 2008-09 school year. Cyber schooling is the best thing that could have happened to public schools. It affords families of all social demographics access to a better option for their children. In many ways it is very similar to a distance learning college course, with added support and resources. In all my years as a parent of a student, I have never had so much support and access to resources to aid in the motivation, education, and the uplifting of my children.
Cyber schools are undoubtedly the path of the future. Every aspect of our lives are being modified and adapted for cyber-functionality, especially higher education. Exposing the children prepares them for the growing cyber-environment that is being cultivated right now! Children who are educated through this medium, and are exposed to a higher quality curriculum, various positive social gatherings, and the proper use of resources, will be more productive in any learning and social environment.
When the petition to allow for parents to use the monies allotted to their children in the public school district for tuition at private institutions was denied many were very disappointed at the lost opportunity. Now that an alternative method of educating our children has been developed there are people of affluence who are still attacking people who are just trying to give their children a good education for life.
Kimberly Jackson and Family, Philadelphia
"How was he not ready for school?"
My name is Jelinda Brinkmeier and I am the grandmother/guardian of Timmy. We started Timmy as most parents do in the public school system. From the first day he was there, it seemed that he was having difficulties. It seemed he was always in the principal's office for something.
It came to our attention that Timmy and another little boy were always missing from their seats. The teacher had herself and three aides for 24 students. Please tell me how, with that many adults in the room, that these boys were missing? The answer we got was that he was not ready for kindergarten.
We pulled Timmy out of public school and enrolled him in cyber school. When he took his pre-testing for the program, he ended up being placed in first-grade grade math.
Please tell me how was he not ready for school?
He is learning more through cyber schooling and having one-on-one attention. If there were no public cyber schools, I know that he would be struggling. I always heard that the state cannot deny a child an education.
So if they are looking at cutting funds for cyber schools, aren't they basically denying a child an education?
Jelinda Brinkmeier, Finleyville
"A really good year for all of us"
My ninth grade son is enrolled in cyber school for the fourth year. In traditional school, my son was in fourth grade and making honor roll every period. Imagine my chagrin when I discovered that my son could not multiply or divide. I had not noticed this since he was making A's on his papers and report cards. I spoke with his teacher and she indicated that there was not a problem. If any of the students needed a little extra help to get their work done and make good grades she was happy to provide the needed assistance.
While that makes for a nice fairy tale it was not helping my son learn his multiplication tables. We finished out fourth grade in public school and practiced math facts at home. We discussed the situation as a family and elected to home school for fifth grade. While we were able to catch him up on his math and bring his knowledge to grade level it was not a satisfactory situation as a family. My son had a hard time seeing a difference between Mom as Mom and Mom as teacher.
While searching the Internet for suggestions on overcoming this problem, I came across information on a new charter cyber school. I spoke to the administrators and enrolled my son for the upcoming school year.
It was exciting getting boxes of shiny new school supplies and computer parts. We had his school room set up from the previous year so we just added in all the great things from the school and off we went. It was much easier for my son to believe it was "real" school when he had it written out in front of him. He did his assignments and asked for help when needed. Sure, there were a few growing pains, but by Christmas we had a pretty good system going.
During sixth grade he was caught up enough that it really didn't take all of his school time to complete his work and make good grades. Then he discovered that he could do additional work and it would still be school. He has always been fascinated by Japan and began studying its culture. Before long he was studying the language and enjoying it.
Seventh grade was a rough year for him. I shudder to think what it would have been like in public school without the attention of someone looking out for him. He passed and eighth grade was a piece of cake. He enjoyed his studies and his teachers were great. ILincs (online classes with specific times and days) proved to be a bit of a challenge but he learned to work with them and found he was meeting more kids in the new classes. Ninth grade is just beginning but it looks like it's going to be a really good year for all of us.
Public cyber school has been wonderful for us and a great experience for my son. We couldn't be happier and he intends to graduate from the school.
Christie Urig, Cherry Grove
"Please don't tie the hands of these children"
My Name is Mari Marx. I have been cyber schooling my stepdaughter, Tahira, for three years. I have enrolled her into public cyber schools for a number of reasons. The number-one reason? Traditional public schools are grossly failing our students in education and safety. Children are having to attend classes with high student ratios per teacher, lowered curriculum standards, and fear of physical and emotional harassment from students and teachers alike.
Public schools are becoming battlegrounds between children, and serve as a major distraction away from its original goal of educating the youth. At home I am able to personally monitor my child's progress and abilities with one on one instruction. She has always exceeded in state testing and can work at a pace she is challenged at.
It would be a terrible injustice against the cyber school system to cut funding for a program that actually works. The traditional public school system is only concerned about the numbers in their facilities not the actual welfare of the child. If they were, more would be done to guarantee the safety and success of our children in their institutions.
Philadelphia public schools are probably one of the worst systems I have seen, and I refuse to subject my child to such an experience. If you have any concern for the welfare of our future generations you should be considering putting more funding into the public cyber schools rather than cutting them off.
The public cyber school system also offer low-income families a way out of the traditional brick and mortar schools to give their children an actual chance at a decent education with out having to pay an outrageous price that the private charters require. Please don't tie the hands of these children. It is a benefit not a hindrance.
It is my tax dollars and every other responsible parent's tax dollars that support this funding. As a taxpayer and citizen, I demand my tax dollars be spent wisely and put towards a program such as these charter schools so our children have a fighting chance.
Mari Marx, Philadelphia
3 children, 3 cyber school success stories =1 HAPPY FAMILY!
My husband and I have four children ages 3, 6, 8, and 10. We began looking into our schooling options when our oldest child was in preschool. We were hesitant to use the public school and we quickly realized private school was not going to work with our budget.
We then learned about cyber charter schools and decided it might meet our needs. I knew I would like the support which the cyber charter schools offer. And a big perk was that our school taxes would still be going towards our children's education.
This is our fifth year with cyber charter schools now and we have three of our children enrolled. We firmly believe that every child learns differently and has different strengths and weaknesses. For that reason it is important to choose the best learning option for each child. Cyber charter schools offer many options in learning that meet most needs. The cyber charter school's curriculum that we use is highly rated in the nation. So we know our children are learning what a child their age should be learning. We have used the traditional class room and we are not opposed to it. However, we have found that so much more is going on there. The ratio of children to teacher, the different learning rates, substitutes, behavior issues, bullies, peer pressure and sick days all negatively effect our children's learning. So they can essentially accomplish so much more at home at their own given pace.
Since beginning the process, our children have gained a confidence in their ability to learn. They can take extra time on an objective that they struggle with and not risk missing an important building block to their learning. Or they can move more quickly through subject matter that they prove to understand. They rarely have sick days because school can be done from the couch and what they do miss is waiting for them when they get better.
My second oldest was in a traditional class room for one year. That year was focused more on his social interactions and peer issues than on learning. When I had him tested to place him back into the cyber charter school, he had literally lost on year of math and his reading fluency barely improved. In just the first month of this school year, back home, he is back on track with our charter schools standards for math skills and his reading fluency seems to pick up each day.
I thank the Lord for this opportunity. I pray for our government leaders to continue to represent all citizens and allow this option in education to continue. I believe the records are proof of its success.
Ginger Wright, Wyomissing