JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The number of parents considering other options besides the traditional public school is growing, according to a Jacksonville teacher who works with a program called Outschool.
Outschool has more than 2,000 teachers in the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia teaching more than 4,500 different classes remotely according to Dr. Kai Kafferly. He says Outschool is essentially a teacher marketplace, that will fill in whatever gaps parents can’t handle themselves.
In just a little more than a month, Florida schools will be reopening after a sweeping executive order was issued on Monday mandating classes five days a week at brick-and-mortar campuses this year. For parents still on the fence about whether they think the school setting will be safe, Kafferly points to education alternatives.
″Outschool can fill that gap to help parents teach their children in a home education plan even though technically and lawfully the parent is the teacher,” Kafferly said.
Kafferly, who is a teacher for Outschool, said Florida’s home education statutes are more lenient than other states, allowing parents to choose whatever resource they want for their students up until their senior year of high school.
Florida law still requires that students have at least 180 days of instruction, a student portfolio approved by a certified teacher, take state testing assessment used by their district and that students are evaluated by a certified teacher.
Kafferly says Outschool is focused on out-of-school learning, that helps families access high-quality content in an array of subjects.
“It is a teacher marketplace and not a school exactly,” he said. “So we call ourselves teachers and under home education law parents can hire a tutor or teacher whether they have a certified degree or not, because at the end of the year the parent has to have an evaluation done based on the student’s portfolio which can be digital so the certified teacher goes over the portfolio and signs over it and finding at Florida certified teacher is very simple.”
It’s important to point out that Outschools teachers aren’t necessarily degreed or certified.
According to Kafferly, that’s not a problem because legally, the parent is the teacher and Outschool is just a teaching resource.
If you’re considering Outschool or any homeschooling resource platform, Kafferly suggests parents familiarize themselves with the Florida statutes so they know what they are getting into.