01 February 2008

Virtual Schools: Avoiding Institutionalized Incompetence

Online virtual schools offer many parents an alternative to the widespread practise of factory education--the manufacturing of entire generations of inadequately educated youth who lack meaningful preparation for the challenges that face them.
Half a million American children take classes online, with a significant group...getting all their schooling from virtual public schools. The rapid growth of these schools has provoked debates in courtrooms and legislatures over money, as the schools compete with local districts for millions in public dollars, and over issues like whether online learning is appropriate for young children.

One of the sharpest debates has concerned the Weldies’ school in Wisconsin, where last week the backers of online education persuaded state lawmakers to keep it and 11 other virtual schools open despite a court ruling against them and the opposition of the teachers union....Many parents attracted to online charters have previously home-schooled their children, including Mrs. Weldie. Her children — Isabel, Harry and Eleanor, all in elementary school — download assignments and communicate intermittently with their certified teachers over the Internet, but they also read story books, write in workbooks and do arithmetic at a table in their basement. Legally, they are considered public school students, not home-schoolers, because their online schools are taxpayer-financed and subject to federal testing requirements.

Despite enthusiastic support from parents, the schools have met with opposition from some educators, who say elementary students may be too young for Internet learning, and from teachers, unions and school boards, partly because they divert state payments from the online student’s home district. ____NYTimes
Teacher's unions are the largest obstacle to meaningful reform of the failing and corrupt government school system. By investing heavily in the political fortunes of large numbers of politicians, the teacher's unions guarantee their own ability to dominate--and destroy--the futures of entire generations of American children.

A good way for US voters to instantly know which presidential candidates not to vote for, is to ask: "which candidates do the teachers' unions support?"

PDF Study of Virtual Schools in US
Recent power play by teachers' unions stymied by Wisconson legislators

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Blogger Bruce Hall said...

Having spent some time thinking and writing about the secondary education process, I believe that online information and even interactive online courses would be excellent supplementary tools.

I'm not convinced that remote learning can be as dynamic or challenging [including the feedback from hands-on work and group discussions] that a student receives in a project classroom or laboratory. It's analogous to playing football versus watching football. You get to control the volume and block out commercials, but you don't get to touch that football.

Still, as my old grandmother used to say, "It's better than nothing, dear."

Friday, 01 February, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

I agree with your grandmother that "it's better than nothing." Much better even than government schools, at least for the growing portion that never graduate.

There is nothing wrong with a central lab or project classroom facility where virtual schoolers can assemble for "hands-on."

Just like homeschoolers and virtual schoolers often play in local school bands, or participate in some school sports. It is a matter of setting things up to allow unconventional curricula.

Friday, 01 February, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Many online and virtual schools are really helping other people to manage their time. This post will surely make more people to become more aware of what online education is all about.

go to college for free

Wednesday, 11 July, 2012  

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