I just wanted to pass along my experience at the IDEA meeting this last Friday incase you didn't get to go and still had questions about it.
I have to say, although I was already familiar with the program in
Alaska, I was totally impressed by the way it will be run here in New
Mexico. I know we have all read the emails sent out from CAPE and
HSLDA on the matter, but for the most part, those organizations are
completely misinformed (or choose to perpetuate a lie, I'm not sure
Here's the basics, but if you have any questions about the program in
more detail, feel free to email me privately:
1. You choose your curriculum. This can be whatever you want, even a
completely reglious curriculum in every subject possible. They cannot
pay for religious curriculum because they are federally funded, but do
not stop you from using your choice of programs. They basically have
a vendor list that you can choose from. If you want to use something
that is not on the list, you just simply contact them and let them
know. They'll look into the curriculum and most of the time, will add
it. If they decline it, you can still appeal and present your side
and they will review it again. If it still isn't accepted, you can
use it, you just can't use the money they give you to pay for it.
2. You get $1000 for each child that is enrolled, and if you have
multiple children, they pool the money together in a "family fund".
There are no distinctions on how much must be spent towards certain
items. If you want to use full religious curriculum, then your money
can go completely towards other things like school supplies, sports,
clubs, music,dance, and art lessons, field trips, entrance into
3. Items that are deemed non-consumable (things that someone could
use again) must be turned into them when your family is finished with
them. But what is great about the program is that you can keep it as
long as your family is still using them (even if the school year is
up). This way, you don't have to re-buy the same text book over and
over again, etc.
4. Standardized tests are required from 3rd grade on. They offer
workshops to help kids get prepared for test taking (as well as the
parents), as some of our kids have never taken a test. But, the great
part of it is, the test doesn't really mean anything. If your kids
fails the test, you don't have to leave the program or anything. I
know that was always a fear for me when we were looking for places to
move. I thought if I got in a state that required testing and my kids
for some reason failed, the state would force my kids into public
school. But, that just isn't so.
5. For the high schoolers out there, they offer classes for college
credit through several large universities! They also offer career
6. As the program goes on and more and more people join, more
opportunities open for group field trips, talent shows, etc.
7. They, of course, give you a computer and a
printer/scanner/ copy/fax combo.
8. Your kids graduate with a fully accredited diploma and full transcripts so they can make an easy transition into college.
There's lots more of great little things about it, but that's the
jist. I know it's not for everyone, but I think it could be a good
alternative for some of us. And, if you don't like it, you can always
take your kid out and go back to what you were doing before. I've
been to lots of these meetings before with other organizations and was
never impressed. This time was different, and the people were so nice
and laid back. I hope you give them a try and if nothing else, try to
open your mind and see the benefit that some families receive from this.
Have a great night everyone!!!