Wednesday, April 25, 2012

MN bill would allow online driver's ed for home schoolers

A Minnesota lawmaker wants home-schooled kids to take driver's ed on-line. It's not that students should drive an actual, you know, vehicle to get their drivers' license -- the on-line learning is only for the written part of the course. It's that for-profit on-line education is draining tax dollars from public schools and weakening teachers unions.

You will not be surprised to learn ALEC is behind the push for on-line schooling.

As the MinnPost reported,
As far as political alliances go, the love affair between home-schoolers and for-profit online education companies would seem about as sweet as it gets. 
Since the goal of home schooling often is keeping kids out of public schools, the advent of the virtual school is a major boon. Sweeter still: When the cyber-academy is a charter school, with taxpayers picking up the tab for everything from hardware to curriculum.
Indeed, presidential also-ran Rick Santorum got into trouble several years ago when it was revealed that he had moved out of the state where a public school district paid a cyber charter $100,000 to home-school several of his children.
For the companies operating the schools, every new customer fattens the bottom line.
Both constituencies occupy a natural niche, then, in the far-right, pro-big-business American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which last year gave Minnesota high marks for its entry into online learning, but a mere C for its “burdensome” home-school oversight. (Yeah, like requiring actual teachers to teach courses.)
Corporations, foundations and think tanks pay thousands of dollars to join ALEC, which charges lawmakers — most of them Republicans — $50 a year to join. Legislators are treated to expenses-paid policy confabs at ritzy resort destinations where they are given model bills drafted by private-sector participants.
Education is one of the group’s largest playbooks. And some of its for-profit online members already enroll Minnesota students.

Chalk it up to another attack on working families.