Allow students in NY to receive their HS diplomas via distance learning

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My name is Alexis Beman. I graduated high school in 2014 via Penn Foster High School, a distance learning program. When I began the Penn Foster program in 2013, distance learning high school diplomas were still accepted throughout New York State. By the end of my program, however, the rules had changed. I have a vague understanding as to why this is the case, simply put: online high schools circumvent the need for students living in New York State to take regents exams. Frankly, I feel this is very unfair. There are many students who deal with mental illness, myself being an example. No other options that were presented to me as I was transitioning out of traditional public high school would work for me. At fourteen years old in early 2013, I could not see myself successfully switching to another local public school as school triggered my anxiety and depression, I was too young for a GED/TASC, and tutoring was not an option presented to me. After-school tutoring became an option for students that came after me who were contemplating leaving high school, but I was failed by the system. Today I want to implore the State Board of Education and the State Board of Regents to reconsider distance learning programs as being sufficient education in New York State, even if they’re considered just as good as a high school equivalency diploma. I feel that for those students dealing with mental illness, bullying, or busy lives outside of school (whether they be child models, actors, what have you), online schooling should be an option. After all, the school I attended (again, Penn Foster High School) is properly regionally accredited. To be more specific, Penn Foster is regionally accredited by the same accrediting body that New York colleges are accredited by. Penn Foster High School is accredited by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA. Phone: (215)-662-5603. My local community college (Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Johnstown, New York) is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. 3624 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104. Phone: (267)-284-5000. I should mention that I also can no longer get into trade schools (cosmetology, esthetics, etc.) in New York with my high school diploma. I genuinely would just like an explanation as to why this is the case, why New York is making it so hard for those of us who learned at our own pace to succeed? I feel that online high school takes a level of self-motivation and independence that isn’t expected of traditional high school students. After all, my online high school course was based on independent study. I am motivated to learn, but frankly I am beaten down by the unfortunate, unfair system and rules in place. No other state seems to have an issue with distance education, so I am looking into schooling out of state for this reason. New York offers online college programs, so I feel it is a bit unfair to reject all online high school programs. With all due respect and high hopes for a better tomorrow, where students can learn in whichever way they choose so long as they are being educated by properly accredited institutions or homeschooled and receiving their TASC diplomas, I thank you for your time. I am hoping to advocate for others in this situation and those that may find themselves in this situation in the future. Please consider signing my petition. Thank you in advance.


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