Andy Berke and Rick Smith have both exhibited a knee jerk reaction to the K12 initiative undertaken by Union County. While one TN county is trying to foster a new approach to education, our great senator and superintendent are both intent on keeping our kids mired in a school system that produces failure. How else do they explain a brand new school in East Brainerd that is already over crowded with kids packed in classrooms, hallways, and the cafeteria like sardines? And our kids are supposed to learn in this environment? But when we tried to take our child out of this failing environment and enroll them in K12 (after much research on our part), we were told Rick Smith (he probably had to check with Rhonda Thurman first) would not allow Hamilton County students to attend the Union County program. Basically declaring he could care less about the kids that were not able to succeed in a crowded brick and mortar schoolhouse. I too wish the K12 program were a not-for-profit program. And that the dollars stayed in TN. However my primary concern is that my child succeeds in their education. And since Hamilton County cannot provide the opportunity for my child to succeed, how dare they throw my child on the trash heap! Online education is not for every student. We also have a second child in the county school system that is succeeding and do not plan to remove him. If Andy Berke and Rick Smith cannot help 100% of the student population, then they need to get out of the way of the parents that have kids that could benefit from a home school environment. After all it is the parents that must ensure their kid’s education, which we all know is a prerequisite for success in life. So Andy Berke gets to keep the money I pay in taxes to support public education, while I now get to pay for private school tuition. I was only too willing to give a virtual public school education program a shot. I work in a virtual office at home with continuous contact (email, chat, teleconference, videoconference) with people around the USA and around the world. And some hillbilly senator and superintendent tries to tell me it won’t work in the education world? I am flabbergasted that Hamilton County can have Memorial Hospital, Volkswagen, Riverbend Festival, etc., all world renown and still have leaders like Andy Berke and the Hamilton County Department of Education. Come on!