Internet

Traditional Schools Aren't Working. Let's Move Learning Online.

We already work online, play online, and shop online. Why isn't school online?

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Deep within America's collective consciousness, there is a little red schoolhouse. Inside, obedient children sit in rows, eagerly absorbing lessons as a kind, wise teacher writes on the blackboard. Shiny apples are offered as tokens of respect and gratitude.

The reality of American education is often quite different. Beige classrooms are filled with note-passers and texters, who casually ignore teachers struggling to make it to the end of the 50-minute period. Smart kids are bored, and slower kids are left behind. Anxiety about standardized tests is high, and scores are consistently low. National surveys find that parents despair over the quality of education in the United States—and they're right to, as test results confirm again and again.

But just as most Americans disapprove of congressional shenanigans while harboring some affection for their own representative, parents tend to say that their child's teacher is pretty good. Most people have mixed feelings about their own school days, but our national romance with teachers is deep and long-standing. Which is why the idea of kids staring at computers instead of teachers makes parents and politicians extremely nervous.

However, it's time to take online education seriously—because we've tried everything else. Education Secretary Arne Duncan debuted his Blueprint for Reform this month to mixed reviews, joining at least 30 years' worth of government officials who have promised that this time, honest, they're going to fix education. Even the reforms promoted by the much-ballyhooed federal Race to the Top funds, which are supposed to encourage innovative educational practices, offer mostly marginal changes to the status quo. In an early March speech on technology in education, Duncan touted $500 million in new federal spending over 10 years to develop post-secondary online courses—an area of online education already thriving without federal assistance—thus arriving at the dance 15 years late and an awful lot more than a dollar short.

Since the Internet hit the big time in the mid-1990s, Amazon and eBay have changed the way we shop, Google has revolutionized the way we find information, Facebook has superseded other ways to keep track of friends and iTunes has altered how we consume music. But kids remain stuck in analog schools. Part of the reason online education hasn't taken off is that powerful forces such as teachers unions—which prefer to keep students in traditional classrooms under the supervision of their members—are aligned against it.

So children continue to learn from blackboards and books—the kind made of dead trees! no hyperlinks!—rather than getting lessons the way they consume virtually all other information: online. Putting reading materials and lecture notes on the Internet, like many teachers do today, is just the first step; it's like when, in the early days of movies, filmmakers pointed a camera at a stage play. Kids are still stuck watching those old-style movies, when they could be enjoying the learning equivalent of "Avatar" in 3-D. Thousands of ninth-grade English teachers are cobbling together yet another lecture on the Globe Theatre in Shakespeare's day, when YouTube is overflowing with accessible, multimedia presentations from experts on Elizabethan theater construction, not to mention a very nice illustrated series on the Kennedy Center's ArtsEdge site.

In the 2010 annual letter from his foundation—the biggest in the United States, with a $33 billion endowment—Bill Gates listed online education as one of his top priorities and rattled his pocket change in the direction of reform. He wrote: "Online learning can be more than lectures. Another element involves presenting information in an interactive form, which can be used to find out what a student knows and doesn't know."

Right now, other than the venerable pop quiz, teachers have very few tools to gauge just how many students are grasping a concept in real time and reshape the curriculum to meet their needs.

How do we know online education will work? Well, for one thing, it already does. Full-time virtual charter schools are operating in dozens of states. The Florida Virtual School, which offers for-credit online classes to any child enrolled in the state system, has 100,000 students. Teachers are available by phone or e-mail from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. The state cuts a funding check to the school only when students demonstrate that they have mastered the material, whether it takes them two months or two years. The program is one of the largest in the country. Kids who enroll in Advanced Placement courses—39 percent of whom are minority students—score an average of 3.05 out of 5, compared with a state average of 2.49 for public school students.

In his book on online education, "Disrupting Class," Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen estimates that half of all high school courses in the United States will be consumed over the Internet by 2019. But we have a long way to go to reach 50 percent. Seventeen percent of high school students nationwide took an online course for school last year; another 12 percent took a class for self-study. Many of these students, along with younger kids taking online classes, might be considered homeschooled, though that very concept is changing as they sign up with virtual schools connected to state systems.

Few people have a clear picture of what online education really looks like, which is one reason so many people are reluctant to consider what it has to offer. Learning online won't turn America into a nation of home-schooled nerds, sitting in their basements, keyboards clacking. And it doesn't mean handing your kids over to Rosie the Robot from "The Jetsons" for the day.

Moving lesson planning and delivery online can provide students with more supervision, not less, says Michael Horn, one of the co-authors of "Disrupting Class." It would free teachers, Horn says, "to do hand-holding and mentoring, something which is pretty much impossible in the current model." After all, where is it written that the babysitter, disciplinarian, lecturer and evaluator must all be the same person? Or even that they all have to be in the same building?

Some online learning models eliminate human interaction, but the vast majority do not. Instead, they connect students and teachers via polls, video, chat, text and good old-fashioned phone calls. The Virtual Virginia program focuses on offering Advanced Placement classes to every student in the state, bringing college-level courses to rural districts and inner-city Richmond, where high-level instruction is difficult to get. Rocketship Education, in San Jose, Calif., brings at-risk elementary students together in a safe, cheap, modular space along with a small staff and hands their studies over to online curriculum for part of each day.

Online education has already become a boon for kids with special needs, the students least served by the traditional system. Education entrepreneur Tom Vander Ark launched Internet Academy, the first online K-12 establishment, in 1995 in part to serve kids with unorthodox education requirements, from serious athletes to children with health problems or learning disabilities.

One of the most successful areas of online education so far is helping kids who have fallen off the educational grid. Companies such as AdvancePath Academics scoop up students classified as unrecoverable by traditional schools and help them complete their education. Some dropout-recovery programs can be found in shopping malls and gyms.

Online courses that allow kids to master material on their own schedule provide "a significant opportunity for students who were behind," says Jim Shelton, assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement at the U.S. Department of Education. "Because if you require the same amount of time in a traditional classroom, how can anybody ever catch up?"

Online education gives students in dysfunctional urban districts the chance to enroll in high-quality classes or language instruction without an expensive move to a suburban district or a private school. Cities benefit, too, as families uncomfortable with the quality of urban public schools can continue to live near their downtown offices while enrolling their children in Web-based programs, reducing white flight and suburban sprawl.

Students and parents aren't the only ones dissatisfied with the way American education works right now. Teachers are unhappy, too. They say they don't have time for the kind of personal interaction that can make the biggest difference for a child. According to Julie Young, the president and chief executive of the Florida Virtual School, "most teachers and most students who are taking classes online say that they have more interaction with their teachers and students than they do in a traditional setting."

While many remain skeptical, online educators say parents are more open to the idea than they used to be. Baltimore-based Connections Academy has an enrollment of 20,000 students in 14 states, providing a full educational package primarily outside a physical school. Chief executive Barbara Dreyer says that "questions like 'does this even work?' have died down."

But though the families of students enrolled in online programs rave about them, cultural resistance has been slow to fade. And winning hearts and minds isn't the only hurdle to widespread adoption: Virtual education remains essentially illegal in many states, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Seat-time requirements—which mandate that students' butts be in classroom chairs, often within the sightline of a qualified teacher, for a certain number of hours—are a major barrier.

Old budgetary mechanisms aren't well suited to the online world, either. In many states, if traditional schools lose students they lose state cash. In Wisconsin, legislators are trying to stop the Internet at county lines. State Sen. John Lehman, who heads his chamber's education committee, secured a cap on out-of-county virtual school enrollment last year. His initial objections were budgetary: "Local districts have ongoing bricks-and-mortar costs," he told me. But then he went on to repeat substantive objections shared by many opponents of online education, accusing the school firms of "profiteering off of kids," and worrying about quality control and the mechanics of online education for young grade-schoolers. He also traced the opposition back to teachers unions. "I think they're fearful of virtual education in Wisconsin," he said. "They don't like to see the money leave bricks-and-mortar schools."

Unions are right that virtual schools are competition. Oregon teachers unions, alarmed about declining enrollment in traditional schools, made fighting a Connections Academy charter school their top legislative priority last year, eventually forcing the legislature to cap enrollment in online schools and mandate face time with teachers, killing prospects for growth at one of the top-rated schools in the state.

The only way online education companies can respond to concerns about quality and age-appropriateness is if they are given the chance to experiment and win over students and parents. Government policies need to be tweaked, and companies need investment to grow. But for online education to really take off, we need to let the chalkboard in the little red schoolhouse go, and learn to love the glow of a child's face lit by a laptop screen.

Katherine Mangu-Ward is a senior editor at Reason magazine. The article originally originally appeared in The Washington Post on Sunday, March 28, 2010.

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137 responses to “Traditional Schools Aren't Working. Let's Move Learning Online.

  1. Half of the point of school is to get kids to learn social interaction. Online school can be a good supplement, but can’t be a replacement.

    1. Well, if people see that as fully half the government school’s mission, that explains quite a bit about why they are failing to educate properly.

      There plenty of other instiatutions for children to socially interact, like little league, scouting, etc. Making them attend school when education needs can be gotten elsewhere is a weak excuse for government school.

      1. I think it’s a bit more than just “social interaction”. How do you put a Chem lab on-line? Maybe for elementary schools, but I think you start hitting some problems with Jr and Sr high classes. I remember making a great beer can lamp in metal shop. You just can’t do that with on-line classes.

        1. I made a clock in the shape of a trout in woodshop, complete with wood-burned gills.

        2. That’s how I know you’re old. I’m in my mid 20s and we didn’t have anything as fun deadly and detrimental to our children as metal or wood shop when I was in school.

          1. You don’t know the half of it. I watched a guy slam another guys face into the upright belt sander in woodshop, while it was on. The guy said he wanted to see if he was black on the inside.

            1. @TP
              Was he?

              @Stereo Apple:
              I’m 29, and I believe that the high school that I went to still has wood/metal shop.

            2. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a better endorsement of virtual schools. If, as Some Guy said, half the point of public school is to teach social interaction like that one, I think I’ll pass.

          2. I’m 23. My public school didn’t have “shop class” we had a technology class where we designed robots and laser security systems. We learned about the engineering concepts required for building bridges and airplanes… things that were much more useful and interesting than clocks and lamps… and this was in the 7th grade.

            1. I’m 43. A lot changed in 20 years.

              1. I made a foot stool in wood shop that broke the first time my father stood on it. Then in metal shop I made an enormous aluminum sugar scoop so poorly soldered that it could have been mistaken for something created in East Berlin. We also bent pennies. That was cool. My project in electrical shop was to build a crystal radio set. It never worked.

          3. Not only did my high school have metal and wood shops, but also auto shop. I didn’t take it, but they would fix up old cars.

            We also had such electives as computer programming in Pascal and FORTRAN, philosophy, and human anatomy, etc.

            In middle school I had computer programming in BASIC and a digital electronics class where in 7th grade we designed circuits on bread boards and then soldered them onto circuit boards.

            This was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the late eighties.

        3. Actually Labs are not a big issue. I did weekly chem labs for a home school co-op way back in the 80’s. Today many brick and mortar schools use virtual labs most of the time and hands on labs where virtual labs don’t work.

    2. Oh, I don’t know. A lot of social interaction happens online these days. Maybe kids in online school will actually have a leg up in the future.

      1. Not in the coming dodgeball wars, they won’t.

        1. Good point. They’ll be shite at climbing ropes, too.

        2. Unfornately, they don’t play dodgeball in schools anymore.

    3. Half of the point of school is to get kids to learn social interaction engineering.

      Fixed that for you.

    4. I dunno. My kids are homeschooled and they seem pretty well-adjusted. They’ve got tons of friends, do lots of activities all day long, and interact with adults as well as kids.

      I don’t think they’re psycopaths or are going to have trouble getting laid later in life, but maybe I have blinders on.

      1. In college, I dated a former home-schooler. Got pretty obvious after a few weeks that she was only comfortable with other home-schoolers. Maybe she grew out of it later, though.

      2. My head hurts. I thought that all homeschooling parents were fundamentalist nutcases. By “getting laid” I’m going to have to assume you mean “remaining abstinent until sanctified by marriage”.

        1. Nah, from my personal observation we seem to be part of a growing homeschool demographic of yuppie geeks. A surprising number of whom are libertarian; probably the general disaffection with the public school system etc etc.

          The super-fundie imprimateur is good for identifying textbooks to stay away from (“Warning! Evolutionary Content!”). Though many of the non-religious-content stuff put out by the fundies is pretty good.

          As for remaining abstinent – well, let’s see what happens when they’re teens 🙂

      3. And there are plenty of kids with parents that don’t care that go to bad public schools and turn out fine, but that’s the exception, not the rule.

        Kids need to be around kids their own age, and while school is obviously not the only place this can happen, I’ve met some home-schooled college kids who couldn’t handle other people and heard plenty of first-hand stories about others.

        For all the glaring flaws of the American system (both public and private) we turn out more innovative people than say an Asian system where everyone is just expected to memorize things and never challenge authority.

        1. B.S. Kids need to be around people of all ages to learn to interact with all ages. Being just around kids their own age creates peer dependency.

        2. My four year old, who I have not yet decided to enroll in school can do basic reading, basic arithmetic, can plant tomatoes and on top of that, she gets along with pretty much anyone she meets.

          I want to homeschool her. Mostly because I don’t really want her to be around other kids her age, in a school system where two eighteen year old rapists were vigorously defended by their peers after getting sex from a twelve year old. Because if that’s socialization, you can bloody well keep it.

          For that matter, I have not yet met a person who had good things to say about public school. I sure don’t.

    5. Do you really think kids in public school are going to learn appropriate social interactions from other kids? Because at a ratio of 30:1 students to teachers, that’s who’s teaching our kids how to behave in society: other children.

      1. Please don’t remind me about middle school.

        1. Did you have the right jeans and shoes?

    6. I sold pot and shrooms in high school. Learned a lot about business and also to never front anyone – even if she is my sister.

      1. I presume that as in Less Than Zero, you made her pay off the debt by giving blowjobs?

    7. Er, social interaction isn’t something you are supposed to need to learn ….

      I realize this is a libertarian site and all, but um, not everyone is autisitc.

      1. It’s not about “learning” social interaction, but about learning through social interaction. University education has started to catch on to the fact that the traditional guy on the podium imparting his knowledge to the unwashed masses does not work. Most of the learning that does happen comes via interactions with fellow students, not in a straight line from teacher to student. A good teacher will facilitate the classroom, not talk at it.

        I’m not necessarily opposed to online education as a part of the curriculum, but not as a full replacement to kids in the same place at the same time type of learning. As part of the marketplace this would be a great step forward from our current system.

    8. Yes, they’ll miss out in important social skills such as:

      – How to humiliate people
      – How to not make waves
      – How to not be yourself
      – How to find your spot in the pecking, excuse me, beating order
      – The finer points of aggression, including both active AND passive!

      I’ve heard someone say that the only place where you’ll find a similar social dynamic as the typical school is prison.

      1. I’ve heard someone say that the only place where you’ll find a similar social dynamic as the typical school is prison.

        For my Master’s Degree in Teaching, I present evidence for that same idea and my arguments on how to improve the classroom management and environment, so that it needn’t be so.

        At the end of my presentation, I narrowly avoided a lynching by the audience of self-rightous White middle-aged schoolmarms.

        1. I would pay 5 dollars to read your thesis.

        2. Yeah, they wanted to lynch you because it points a damning finger at them.

          Dude, dittos here for reading the thesis. Hell, it ought to be submitted to reason.

        3. Expatriate, we’re waiting…

          1. Well…I can’t find the thesis on my computer, but I did find my notes from the colloquium where I presented the findings of my research.

            To be frank, I’m kind of embarrassed reading it now as my research and analysis seems naive, but back when I was a young twenty-something, it seemed to make sense.

            Colloquium

            Introduction and Context
            Greetings. You know, schools and prisons have a lot in common, not only in their physical construction, but in their culture as well. Anyone who has taught adolescents can verify that when it comes to maintaining discipline in the classroom, the students possess a “prisoner’s code” mentality. It’s “You” vs. “Them.” Even if two students hate each other, they will not “rat” one another out to the teacher. O.K., I may be exaggerating a little; however, the fact remains that in most American classrooms protocols for proper behavior are established and maintained through fear and respect for authority. Today, I would like to propose an alternative model. The topic of my colloquium is collaborative classroom management in the ESOL classroom. While the focus of my research was done in an ESOL classroom, I believe that a collaborative classroom management model is appropriate for any classroom.
            In short, what collaborative classroom management is, is the sharing of the responsibilities that help the classroom to run efficiently and be a place in which all students feel safe to learn in. Therefore, certain tasks, such as the taking of attendance, passing out papers and notices, taking ultimate responsibility for maintaining a clean classroom, cleaning the blackboard after lecture, etc.) that are traditionally delegated only to the teacher, are then delegated by the teacher to a student.
            I first came across this practice when I was researching a paper for prior course work. I decided to research the Japanese educational system and then suggest practices that could benefit schools here. The most striking practice that I came upon was the cooperation between teachers and students in classroom management through the toban, or classroom monitor, system. In the toban system, ever student has several opportunities throughout the year to help monitor the classroom environment. Most importantly, the toban is responsible for maintaining an orderly and respectful classroom environment.
            Respect vs. Kizuna
            At this point I would like to explain the difference in focus between the traditional classroom management model and the collaborative one.
            (Traditional classroom management overhead)
            (kizuna model overhead)
            What makes the second model work is the application of what the Japanese call Kizuna. (Respect vs. Kizuna overhead)
            Whereas the traditional model depends on an affective paradigm of “respect” to establish a stratified interactional sociolinguistic power structure based on fear of punishment, the kizuna model establishes a power structure based on shared empathy where the onus for the creation of the classroom environment is explicitly shared by all.
            Secondly, the kizuna model opens up a greater sense of classroom ownership to the students, thus allowing student regulation of behavior through peer modeling and interaction “peer pressure”. As research by Judith Rich Harris has shown, the most important factor in the determination of adolescent behavior is peer interaction. By allowing every student in the classroom to experience the responsibility of managing the classroom environment, not only due the students empathize with the teacher, but they empathize with the student in the role of class monitor?for they don’t want the student who is class monitor to misbehave when it is their turn to monitor the class.
            The hypothesis I held before starting my research in an ESOL classroom at [redacted] High was that through the sharing of the responsibilities of classroom management under a paradigm of kizuna, unpleasant “showdowns” can be avoided as the power structure created by teacher/student sociolinguistic interaction is altered from an “You vs. Them” mentality to a “We” mentality. This would lead to the following benefits:
            1.Less teacher time and attention spent on discipline as they have a daily partner to assist in this. Thus leading to more time spent on instruction.
            2.An increase of positive attitudes toward schooling for students, as they will have greater ownership of their classrooms and learning.

            Research
            I conducted my research over the period of one month at [redacted] High School. My test classroom was an intermediate level ESOL classroom consisting of seven boys and one girl. At the start of my research I surveyed the students’ attitudes towards classroom roles and responsibilities with two questionnaires. For the first two weeks, I observed their interaction under the traditional model, and for the last two, we worked under a collaborative model.
            (Questionnaire overhead 1) The first questionnaire given was survey of attitudes towards the classroom and classroom management tasks. Of the surveys handed back, the vast majority of students had positive attitudes toward the classroom. They also agreed that they could handle some classroom management tasks not normally assigned to them. However, when it came time to answer, “Sometimes, I wish the teacher would give me more responsibility,” every student answered with a solid “3.” I interpreted this, as ambivalence while no one wants more responsibility they recognize they would be able to handle the task if given to them.
            (Questionnaire 2 – explain)
            The last two weeks of the class were run under the collaborative model. I first began by explaining to the class how the model I wished to employ worked. I also went over the responsibilities of the class monitor. The students seemed surprised and mildly pleased that they would have the opportunity to ask someone to be quiet if they were talking. Every day a different student was chosen to be my “helper.” Other than behavior, the student was responsible for passing out papers, taking notes to and from the office, managing who goes to the bathroom, etc.
            (Describe [redacted]’s day ? didn’t go well)
            (Describe [redacted]’s day ? at first took it seriously, then peer pressure pushed him away)
            (Describe [redacted]’s day ? went a little better)
            (Describe [redacted]’s day- worked really well?once the class was too noisy?I only spoke to him?and continued to write on the board?.as I was writing, lo and behold the class was getting quieter.)
            (Show after interview video ? hammer out empathy motif)
            Conclusions
            Collaborative classroom management can be a powerful model when applied within the affective context of kizuna. It is important to remember that in this model the teacher does not abrogate his or her responsibility. The teacher is still the dominant arbiter of the classroom environment. Nevertheless, what I have found is a paradox. By adding the “middleman” of a classroom monitor, the teacher becomes more approachable to the students. When students share in classroom management, what they once perceived to be solely the teacher’s job, they are able to explicitly see the consequences of disruption. Their empathy for the teacher’s position allows the teacher to gain influence over the students by benevolence as opposed to fear.
            I feel that the Kizuna model of collaborative classroom management would be most effective when applied as a whole-year practice. I urge educators to research this model more thoroughly and perhaps modify it for their own classroom use. I thank you for your attention this morning. I will now take questions.

            1. Thanks. Interesting read (would help if we had the slides..also obviously pre PowerPoint). I fin the prison/school dynamic more interesting than the new model you presented (not disparaging jsut would reather examine the prison dynamic more). If you do find the paper you should post it. So have any locations implemented the model in your conclusion? How are they doing?

            2. Check out this book by Jane Tompkins. She describes her experiences as both student, from early elementary school through her graduate education, and professor at various universities including Duke. It certainly does make various school/prison comparisons and parallels. It’s a very good read.

        4. My condolences for having to attend a glorified middle school also known as a School of Education.

    9. Half of the government’s schools’ job is to indoctrinate the kids; the other half is to make sure they’re stupid when they’re let out. Get government out of it, entirely, at all levels. “Social interaction” didn’t happen in schools, it happens in neighborhoods, playgrounds, on the streets … oh, yeah, the governments have managed to “F” us out of those, too. hmmm..

  2. On the other hand, emphasizing technogical gimmicks like 3-D movies and hyperlinks over books is style over substance. The content matters.

    1. Well said. And poor quality teaching will be just as detrimental over the internet.

      As always, vouchers are the key to truly reforming our education. Then parents can choose whether or not an online focused approach will give their child a better education.

  3. Food Morning reason!

    1. Too late Suki, we beat ya! Bwa hah hah hah!!!

      1. Sorry! I was actually busy this morning.

        Hi FB and sorry for my typo 🙁

        1. Freudian slip, fatty?

        2. That’s OK, could happen to anybody.

          Now where’s my coffee?

  4. There’s nothing wrong with the schools that couldn’t be fixed with more money.

  5. So, teachers are going to have to learn some basic HTML? Good luck with that.

  6. The real problem is that education isn’t really about learning and mastering content.

    If “online learning” – and testing – had been available when I was a junior high school student and high school student, I could have read the “short story reader” and completed all the content associated with it the first day, done the social studies textbook the second day, and taken another week to do the math.

    But whatever online credential I would have earned would have been utterly meaningless and worthless as a way for employers to judge my readiness to work or for colleges to judge my readiness to attend college.

    Because school isn’t about the content. It’s about demonstrating that you will get up in the morning and willingly go spend a fixed amount of time in a boring place without too much disruption or complaining. It’s about showing you can stick to it even when it’s pointless and dull. For the slower kids, it’s about showing you can fake it well enough to fit into a quasi-professional setting. It’s about showing you can be around your peers without engaging in crime or resorting to violence.

    There are lots of little “signifiers” that the current education process and its resulting credentials provide. If I had been loosed upon a college or upon employers when I could master the content of grade school and high school education, not only would I have looked silly as the 9 year old in the call center or campus cafeteria, I probably would have told someone to fuck off the first day, pulled a fire alarm for fun, whined about how bored I was, cried for my mommy, etc. All not stuff they want you to do.

    1. There is simply no reason to waste your children’s time sending them to public school. My kids are way ahead of their peers and spend only a couple of hours a day doing their school work.

      I actually use quite a bit of material online. My 8 year old son just started a touch typing program that he found online. Gutenberg.org has thousands of books online including many of the classics. I will find my son reading wiki to follow up on some previous lesson. The very best part is that there isn’t some statist moron teaching him things that simply are not true.

      True, this doesn’t prepare them for jobs as drones in any giant corporation or government. They will thank me later.

    2. Ick. The purpose of school is to teach the enforced hell of adult life? I would think there’s a way to encourage the virtueous sides of what you’re describing (get up and work every day, do a good job without crying) without spending insane government money designing a shitehole.

      Although if that was the secret plan all along for education spending, then the government is a hell of a lot smarter than I thought.

      1. The purpose of school is to teach the enforced hell of adult life?

        That’s one perspective. I think it’s primarily more basic: school is childcare so that both parents can work.

        1. school is childcare so that both parents can work pay taxes.

          FIFY

    3. Baloney

    4. If I had a kid (which would be a very bad idea for more reasons than I could possibly list), I would rather that he be prepared to start his own business and pay other people to do that boring drone work for him. Being able to sit on your hands for hours without actually doing anything is overrated.

    5. Entirely correct, Fluffy!! That’s why parents ought to do the teaching at home, where they – who else has a better right or motive?? – can socialize their own kids to get up in the morning and keep their noses to the grindstones, etc. Who do you suppose taught kids that stuff before the education establishment decided that they could do it better? Guess what? Parents. Getting to work on time wasn’t much of a problem in my dad’s day or his dad’s day or in my day, come to think of it. But, hell, I’m 63; what could I possibly know??

      Content of the course is only a part of it; right. Parents who teach their own kids have to “socialize” them, but not all do or will to the same identical standard. Your answer is to let the same jackasses and idiots and know-nothings and communists socialize the children, who are entirely unable (or unwilling; another story) to teach the content. Oh, good choice!! NOT! Not many kids tried to kill their school mates back in the day, not many tried to kill themselves either. Amazing! See what progress has brought to us? Let’s have some more please, sir!!

      Government-run schools are the problem, not the solution. Government indoctrinated “teachers” are not part of the solution; they are the problem. Ask a teacher at high school how many semester hours they took in the subject they teach; then how many in “education” courses. Then ask yourself what they know best that they can teach. Not the subject they’re teaching, you can bet on that. Schools are where kids learn that criminals and their victims both get punished by the system; where they learn that if you’re in power, you can do anything and say anything and if you’re not in power, you’re dog poop; where they learn that some kids are better and some are worse and they’ll never change. Yeah, that’s what I want my grandkids to be taught. You too?

      1. Dear Sir,

        After reading your comment I, as a public school teacher, would like to reply. In my undergraduate degree I took 27 credit hours in Education, 39 credit hours in English, and 48 credit hours in Communications. In my Masters, I completed 36 credit hours in English (a total of 75 hours). I am certified to teach speech, theater, and English. Currently, I teach English. How am I not qualified to teach my subject area? Obviously, it has been a while since you have been, if you have been, to college. Do some research before you make sweeping generalizations and persecute people who, for the most part, work laborious hours (for average pay) trying to make a difference.

        1. I assume, ophelia, that your undergraduate degree was at a college or university operating on the semester basis rather than the trimester? So, 27 + 39 + 48 = 114 hours; I assume the balance were in “core courses”, approximately 26 – 30 more additional credits, then? Why more hours in “Communications” than in English? Never mind.

          It was a generalization. There are colleges and universities where the need to have at least a major in a teaching subject is recognized, but generally speaking, from my observations in my college days through my son’s childhood and youth and my grandsons’ childhoods, is that their teachers were poorly qualified, academically, to teach the subjects they were assigned to teach. If it were not for “sweeping generalizations”, all the posts here would be tens of times longer than they are. As far as persecution, I recommend that you look up the word again and consider how a post, written words not amounting to urging others to immediate violence against you or others like you, can possibly constitute “persecution”. Oh, and I cannot resist replying to your condescending, patronizing reference to what you consider to be my lack of formal education. Even if I were a fifth grade drop-out, what would a lack of formal education have to do with whether the content of my comments have any merit or not? If it will soothe your worry on that score, I have a B.S. with a double major in Political Science and History, summa cum laude, a J.D. with a much more modest grade average – both after I was 40 – and have completed 40-some hours toward an additional Master’s in poly sci. While I’m on the subject of ad hominem attacks, let me make one: I never met or knew of a school teacher who worked “laborious hours for average pay”. Aren’t you the folks who get paid twelve months of the year for nine months’ work time? I have met many dedicated teachers and have been privileged to have been the student of some of them. None of them considered their work the dreadful burden you evidently do.

          None of that, pleasant as it is to exchange un-nicities with someone, bears on my comment. As presently organized and run, schools – with the exceptions of the ones to which the wealthy and powerful send their children – are utterly failing in the basic task of educating children. None of the recent “reforms” to education have reversed that trend, but have been nothing but “more of the same”: more money, more “new” education theories, more propagandizing of children, less and less content … in short, more of the same as has been tried for the last 45 years. The present system and method(s) are failures and ought to be replaced. My idea is that we ought to get rid of the present system in its entirety and replace it with a “non-system” in which the invididual parents have primary responsibility and authority over their children’s schooling. It is my opinion, uneducated though I may be in your opinion, that such a change would result in genuine improvement in children’s lives and in their educational attainment. That would make a difference for the better in their lives, in all of our lives.

    6. So, basically you’d like me to take my two intelligent kids, and have them become corporate drones?

      Yep, that’s definitely gonna be how it happens. Thank you for saving them from a chance at innovation, self-respect, self-responsibility and the actual desire to learn. We can’t have that AT ALL.

  7. Online education gives students in dysfunctional urban districts the chance to enroll in high-quality classes or language instruction without an expensive move to a suburban district or a private school. Cities benefit, too, as families uncomfortable with the quality of urban public schools can continue to live near their downtown offices while enrolling their children in Web-based programs, reducing white flight and suburban sprawl.

    Are you high?

  8. Wait, I thought KMW was being sarcastic.

    Right now, other than the venerable pop quiz, teachers have very few tools to gauge just how many students are grasping a concept in real time and reshape the curriculum to meet their needs.

    You mean like homework or just asking them?

    Actually I think this article highlights why we need choice and competition in schooling. You can plop your kids in front of a computer for hours a day with all the links and distractions they can handle with their low attention spans, and I’ll send mine to an actual (non-government)learnarium for some actual instruction.

  9. 2hrs of online schooling
    1hr homework
    1/2 testing/tutoring
    5hrs playing with peers

    beats 1hr commute + 8hrs forced schooling by a lot.

  10. Another reason this will generate resistance: part of the (unstated) function of schools is to serve as a day-care center. Especially true for households where no adult is home during the day.

    1. Which is why the President supports the Universal Daycare Initiative. The United States is the Only Industrialized Nation? that does not offer this basic human right to The Nation’s Working Families?. We look forward to working with Speaker Pelosi to make this centuries-old dream a reality.

  11. In Australia distance education has long been in practice using radio. Online is similar and could be done easily and effectively.

  12. My precious child, you may have some more electronic device time when you show me that you understand and can apply Concept X.

    And, contrary to popular belief, I am the boss of you.

  13. Because online schooling is essentially home schooling. Parents and kids may not want it for the same reasons they may not want homeschooling – limited socializing, limited supervision, larger time investment for parents, no free childcare, fewer networks, less access to extracurriculars, etc. There is plenty of online schooling available for those who wish to homes school already – and parents may choose that already if they wish. Are you just suggesting a public option to add to the mix?

  14. I would also add that they do not use blackboards anymore at my kid’s public school – they use smartboards – basically computer projection using PowerPoint etc. There are video announcements in most schools these days etc. We don’t need to entertain more with technology. We need kids to spell and write well and think critically. Classic schooling sans technology is better for that. Especially at the grammar school level, it is easier to learn in groups through chanting, drilling, singing, etc. An online option is fine but not sufficient for most kids. Social conformity and group think are powerful forces in getting young children to learn what they may not be interested in learning alone from a computer screen. Memorizing facts speeches poems dates…it’s harder alone.

    1. You say “social conformity and group think” as if they’re GOOD things. If you don’t spend years squashing a child’s innate curiousity, there is no way (short of criminal confiment and neglect) to KEEP him from learning. Children demand to be taught. I’d say 24/7, but they do sleep occasionally. Anyone who has had a toddler or young child go through the “Why” phase knows exactly what I’m talking about. Which is why we have science and math class in our kitchen, social studies and history while watching the news, biology on our afternoon walks, and reading throughout the day in practically every spare moment.

    2. Wherein corporate drones and chanters for Walmart are officially created! Excellent.

  15. As always, the inescapable problem is the contradiction of “compulsory education” itself.

  16. Is eduaction so hard to fix that’s it’s unfixable?
    Perhaps it’s time to give up.

    …I’m being absurd, but …no, really, maybe we should just give up on it all!

    No one, and I mean no one, seems to want to address any core issues with education, so I say “Screw it!” I have a solution for this generaion – Only let kids who WANT to attend school, attend it. The other can take a one day class on how to empty garbage cans and clean tables or something. Or sit in a jail cell.
    I’m 34, and feel like an old man. “Back in my day…”

    For the last several decades upon decades, kids sat in a desk, with a book, and a pencil or pen….and seemed to learn rather well.
    And Fluffy was right, about it teaching you things, like, showing up to school will transfer into showing up for work. Discipline.
    Now it’s like, “Ohh, no, what do we do, how do we fix this?!” Maybe we should REALLY look at the problems, and…sady, some can’t be fixed. If the parents and society, neighborhood, etc. don’t respect eduaction, the kids won’t. But many parents, and society, simply pay lip service. “Education is important to my kids!” or “We must defend education!” But the unsaid is more powerful. We’re obsessed with getting wealthy easy, overnight successes, etc. when in reality, those are so rare it’s not worth mentioning. 90% of people who get successful work their asses off. But that doesn’t make a good quick news story. On the home front, teachers best time to gossip and go bowling in the hallways is on parent-teacher night…because only about 2 parents show up, and those are the ones who don’t need to be there, because their kids have A’s…go figure!

    You almost never REALLY see what goes on in schools. Every time a failing school gets news coverage, it’s “These brilliant, brave, hardworking, angelic students and these ultra supportive parents and wonderful wise teaches, are just trying to save this wonderful school…excuse me…WAHH!!!! WAHAHAHA!!”
    Yeah, I had a buddy who substituted in a school that got that kind of news coverage. I kept thinking “How could that cruel, heartless state want to close down such a wonderful school…even though test scores were in the tank?”
    Yeah…he substituted for one day, then found work elsewhere. A little kid cursed him out – “You muthufucking, pussy ass, fucking… (to give you an idea)” So he tells the principal, whose reaction was an uncaring “Yeah, that’s how our students are…” and obviously the kid got no punishment. It was downhill from there. He left. Yet the media portrays the school like an enchanted heaven on earth.

    There are other things. Why don’t the teachers…look like teachers? When the teacher is dressed like anyone else on the street, how does that teach the kids respect, something to achieve to? Yeah, teachers need a damn dress code! Instead in today world, we’ll get narcissistic whining about ….ahhh who cares, put your damn flip flops on and don’t pick up your feet and go teach dem kids!

    Then there’s the multiple medicatations the kids take. One of my old co-workers ranme through each medication each kid had to take, and how she yelled at the teacher because her kid missed one or something – that’s why I’ll never be a teacher, I never got my pharmacy degree. If I had to spend the time making sure all these little Ritalin taking kids popped their pills on time, that would take the entire class to do!

    So all these ideas on fixing schools, always skirt around the real problems with schools. And if it keeps up, …I don’t really know how future life in America will be, but it won’t be pleasant. These kids will be running the show.

    1. Is eduaction so hard to fix that’s it’s unfixable?

      Some questions answer themselves. . . .

    2. What we have now is built to teach people how to be good factory workers. But that world is gone. We need a new system, and we need it badly and soon.

      Every kid should have a good understanding of logic, game theory, economics – in addition to reading, math, science, etc. Of course first we’ll need teachers who understand that stuff, and the ability to easily fire those who don’t. No easy task.

    3. First, the education of one’s child is one’s personal responsibility. The question you, and every individual, should be asking is: “Is educating my child, as I want them to be educated, so difficult that I can not do it?”

      If the answer is “Yes”, then I contend that such a person should not have a child. Ultimately it is their decision and I do not intend to force anyone to be childless, but I am speaking based upon my belief of their best interest, for the purpose of consideration by any individual who wants to consider it.

      If you, if anyone, can not teach their child, and believe before he or she is ever born that its life will amount to something you would consider to be pathetic or disappointing, why do you want that human to be created anyway? I know it’s instinct but that is not and should not be the only basis for decisions, and this decision (to create and rear a child) might be important to you.

      For any individual, whether to “give up on it all” is what one should do is dependent upon its benefit to you. Though you may be referring to government-run education, I believe your primary concern is first your education, and then the education of your child. You are 34, and thus are probably not directly subjected to indoctrination by public schools now. But someone of your age, who is probably by now not entirely but partially independently seeking and analyzing information, aka partially educating yourself, in some cases will be concerned with the education of your children. The purpose of this paragraph is to explain the relevance of not giving up on the education of your children if it is below the point at which you cease to consider it satisfactory. The best reaction to such dissatisfaction may not be to remove them from school. There are other options, some of which may be difficult. If, to the reader, those options after consideration are not worthy of your effort, then so be it. But do not neglect an effort before you understand the possibilities, if this is to you an important issue.

      “For the last several decades upon decades, kids sat in a desk, with a book, and a pencil or pen….and seemed to learn rather well.”

      Did they? Are you satisfied with the intellect or erudition of adults today?
      Do you think it should be better, and if so, do you realize that parents are, or should be, responsible for that improvement?

      You, Dale, are correct about people some times merely paying lip service. But that fact, as it is, does not justify either you or I doing the same. And I contend that, far from being justified, we need to seriously differentiate our behavior as parents or potential parents from that of those people who make acquiring money or appearing conscientious to their “friends” the purpose of their lives. When you say “We’re obsessed with getting wealthy easy, overnight successes, etc.”, I know that I am not included in that “we”, and I do not want to be. Fortunately, I have the ability to exclude myself from that group by pursuing what I believe to be good, which is never the irrational.

      Regardless of the state of others’ kids or schools, you are responsible for yours and before you care about them you should care about yourself and your children. I say this because you mentioned again the apparently poor state of a classroom. That is certainly not good, but maybe it should not be your immediate concern.

      Regarding another paragraph:
      A person’s choice of functional (which usually implies comfortable) clothing has very little to do with their qualification for any position. It is an offensive fallacy that children are ever taught that clothes equate to the value or competence of an individual. I believe you know that the clothes one wears, in fact, do not indicate one’s value or competence. Such a simplification and mistake of what signifies quality is one reason why people are hired into jobs for which they are not qualified. I do not recommend suggesting that significance of clothing to any children. And I do not believe it is really the problem to which you refer.

      Children are not inherently incompetent to perform basic tasks such as working, or to be disciplined doing that which benefits them. They become incompetent when they are taught incompetence by peers and superiors, which are most often parents and teachers. If they do not perceive a benefit to going to work on time as an adult, they may not do it. Why do you think adults are ever unable to perceive sufficient benefits to motivate them to get a job and go to work every morning? I truly do want you to consider that.

      Regarding any difficulty of dispensing medication to children, I do not believe that challenge will motivate anyone who wishes to improve the lives of children to avoid doing so. There are many problems with the current system of public education — this might be one, yet I can not imagine how it could justify an abandonment of kids’ proper educations.

      “I don’t really know how future life in America will be, but it won’t be pleasant. These kids will be running the show.”

      Yeah, these kids will be running the show. We, parents and adults, are responsible for being sure they know how to run it, starting with our own.

  17. The Internet has changes the way we work

    STOP LEARNING HOW TO SPELL FROM ME!

  18. I think online classes “can” be a great idea (although full vouchers are a better one).

    But…

    They could certainly have some problems especially for younger kids. Leave your 7 year old at home to do online courses all day, while you go to work?

    Older kids I think it’s better.

    The key of course is that they kids have to be self motivated. Some kids need outside discipline.

    Again this is where vouchers are better. It allows for a variety of school settings, some kids need more structure, others less. It shouldn’t be a one size fits all approach.

  19. “You say social conformity and group think as if they’re GOOD things”

    I was sort of being tongue-in-cheek when I said that. My implication is that, as much as I loathe the indoctrination and push towards ideological conformity you have in public schools, there are some virtues to the NATURAL desire of children to “fit in”: it CAN be used to get children to behave better, to learn more material, etc. Some children do just fine at home with only their parents and computers/books to guide and teach them, but many benefit from the positive reinforcement of outside sources because of the natural parent/child power struggle. I think homeschooling is great for many kids, and I am tempted by the family freedom it offers, but I know it wouldn’t work well for my particular children or for me (personality reasons). I do think my children will, for instance, learn their times tables much better in a setting where they chant them with other kids than just from me holding up flashcards. (Not that they do this sort of drilling in public schools anymore, but they do in some private schools.) The key is to have OPTIONS, which would be made possible by a widespread voucher system.

    I’m saying the reasons we wouldn’t replace public schooling with widespread online schooling are the same reasons we wouldn’t replace public schooling with homeschooling (because online schooling basically means home schooling). It won’t work for EVERYONE. But it should be available as an option; however, it already IS a PRIVATE option. Should it be a PUBLIC option too? I guess I could see the public schools offering this at the high school level ? have kids who work part-time and do online courses part-time, where the government is supplying the free online education, but it would work just as well (and probably better) to give them a voucher to spend on private online education.

    The reality is that the public school system IS relied upon as childcare by a great number of parents. Maybe it shouldn’t be, but it is, and it has been for so long, that you can’t just pull that apart without having some other system in place. It’s also a welfare service ? with free lunches, etc. It’s also a source of community in an otherwise very mobile and disjointed society. It’s also a source of many extracurricular activities. Our public schools system is not JUST an education system ? that’s just one of many major services it provides. It hasn’t been JUST an education system since ? I don’t know how long ? but for a very long time. And BECAUSE it is relied upon for so many services other than just education, for most parents and students, it will bever be sufficiently replaced by anything that offers just education, and there will be insurmountable resistance to replacing it with anything that offers JUST education.

  20. The “social interaction” part of school is important, but it’s not the only way. Besides, for the popular kids, school is great. For the unpopular, it’s a damn meat-grinder. Most of those who push the social value of school never much, if any, of the bad side.

    1. Yeah, really. And man, most of the kids aren’t popular. It’s really a pack mentality, and not in the best ways.

  21. Just a few thoughts on this:

    1. Like many of the education 2.0 proponents out there (there are even some in the Obama admin.) they see some of the problems, but still think the solution can be found in Government. Until we break from government control, the incentives will continue to reward the “buggy whip” model we have.

    2. On socialization, what makes people think that keeping kids segregated with their own age group socializes them to anything but the lowest common denominator for that group? Socialization is natural, can be done outside the school walls, and should include a diverse group of people.

    The opportunities for online learning are huge. MIT has all of their courses available as open-source, and there are many other courses, lectures, videos, etc. out there.

    Someone upthread mentioned that a big obstacle is accreditation – another government interference that creates high barriers to entry.

    My son attends an alternative type of school at:
    http://www.villagefreeschool.com

    Unfortunately, no matter if he learns more here or not, he will never receive “credit” for this education.

    I think the time is approaching, where businesses, employers, parents will realize that the state blessed credentials are meaningless and will quickly move toward a more free market approach. All while paying for the current failure of course.

    1. Rick: What do you want? You want your kid to learn or you want him to get a piece of paper that says he learned, whether he did or not? Those are the choices these days. No third choice.

    2. He can always take his GED test anyway to get whatever paper he needs. From there, he can go anywhere.

  22. Everybody touting “social interaction” as a excuse for the existence of public schools has never done home school or school internet connected curriculum. I know because I was home schooled. Both my siblings were in the entertainment industry so we didn’t have time for a regular school. My friends were the people who lived in my neighborhood, the people I met at acting classes and people in auditions. My littlest sister is currently taking classes online and she is very sociable and has lots of friends she plays with, has sleep overs with, sports etc. To say you need public school prison for social interaction is completely absurd, in fact most of the time that environment poisons social relationships and creates artificial classes and groups of kids. Look no further than the example of that poor girl Phoebe Prince.

    1. +1

      I guess they do have a slight point though, because going through a metal detector teaches you how to be submissive to TSA agents, being bullied teaches proper respect for law enforcement, and listening to a teacher that isn’t as smart as you prepares you for your first boss in the “real world”

      Socialization in public school is the most commonly accepted fallacy in education, and only reinforced by a few quirky homeschooled spelling bee champs.

  23. There is a need to reform primary and secondary education, but moving it online and secluding students from each other isn’t what is needed.

    Any home-schooled student can read a book, but it takes a classroom of peers to discuss it–and that is where education comes from. It’s not social education that makes group schooling essential, but scholastic interaction.

    1. “but it takes a classroom of peers to discuss it”

      Really? All those books I read completely by myself were utterly worthless? Seriously, why is discussing with “peers” more educational than discussing it with someone else? Even if I concede your point, are we not discussing, right now, online?

      I might want a homeschooled kid to discuss “The Grapes of Wrath”, with the old man down the street that lived it. Does he get a better perspective from another 12 year old? 10 other 12 year olds?

      Ridiculous.

      1. Besides, what properly accredited teacher is going to allow “undirected” discussion among the children of material that they’ve read? The whole point of restricted reading lists is so that the kids don’t read anything the teacher doesn’t have an “approved” workbook and discussion outline for. “Discuss it with their peers”? What have you been smoking?

    2. Funny, I didn’t get much of that in public school. It wasn’t until after I graduated that I learned critical thinking, discussion, debate and different perspectives.

      Most of what I learned in public school was that if you’re not one of the popular kids, you’re screwed.

  24. I’d argue scholastic interaction would be improved online. Chat rooms, email, message boards, etc. In fact, though I’m long past being a formal student, I do a lot of scholastic interaction on the internet. Discussing the depths of a mad men episode, mathematically analyzing the NBA, and learning the finer points of human biomechanics, all done on message boards. You could easily set up message boards for say an english lit course. Discussion can be taken “offline” to the message board. Engaged students could further explore the text, bounce ideas around, etc etc. This, versus the 10 minutes you might get in a brick and mortar classroom, with interruptions from the class clown and the fear of being labeled a “nerd” or “suck up” for raising your hand too much.

  25. High school is a good place to meet women. I’m 27 and I still do it 😉

  26. I’m a private music teacher. Although in theory I’m in favor of computer learning, there are way too many issues currently to make this the primary way kids learn. One of the problems is that kids usually quickly figure out how to ‘game’ the tests. For instance, in the computer program, ‘SmartMusic’, used by band directors to assess the practicing of their students, kids quickly learn that they can play a half note instead of 4 eighth notes on the same note (and the computer grades that as perfect!). So why even bother to learn how to do it right? (that’s what they tell me) As an adult, I’ve taken some online courses. Uniformly, the students gradually stop participating, making the class worthless. Without the social pressure of your peers, most people just don’t do it. In addition, there’s more to going to school than just working through a text: students learn how to interact and be responsible citizens and neighbors. That’s one of the most important functions of school. There’s certainly room for some advanced classes to be taught this way to the most motivated kids, but this should not be the main way we teach our kids. I agree that our schools are problematic, especially in the inner cities, but this is not the solution. (In fact, as someone who’s worked as an adjunct teacher for many years, I would say the real problem is private schools–I believe the only options should be merit-based, not wealth-based. You work your butt off, you get to go to a great school and participate in sports. You slack off? You lose: you get assigned to a school for low-achievers without sports or extracurriculars, where you are drilled in the basics.)

    1. Pretty sure my kids could learn how to be responsible citizens and neighbors better from me than from other children.

  27. I don’t think e-learning can every completely replace face-to-face.

    That said, teachers need to incorporate more multimedia into learning. Perhaps one way to do it is similar to the Supervision system used at Cambridge University – pupils get most of the INFORMATION they need from online resources or public lectures, and then learn how to USE/ANALYSE/EVALUATE it face-to-face.

    Some subjects probably do require someone to teach by demonstration, with one-to-one contact. But if we can do what can be done online, it frees up teachers to deal with the rest more effectively.

  28. What we have for educating kids doesn’t work. Detroit only graduates about 25% of its high schoolers and most of them are “funtionally illiterate” whatever the devil that is supposed to mean. It’s not the only city or school district with that problem, just the worst we have fairly honest recent numbers for.

    It’s broke; fix it. Take government out at all levels. Parents, your turn. Get together and figure out what you want to spend your money on for your kids’ educations. No money? Go online and set up a charity for it. Sell baked goods, raffle off an old set of high school text books for a laugh and some money. Get some grants from private companies, be sure it’s no strings attached; not a penny from any government, eh! Teach them yourselves at home; lots of folks out there willing to help you. Religious schools, if you like. Private schools that don’t get their money from the government or from the biggest companies with strings on how they can spend it. Private schools founded for specific ethnic groups; take advantage of it if you’ve got it. Some of you get together, hire a teacher to work up a cirriculum and to teach it; hold school in your homes, by rotation. Apartment? Why not? You want your kids to be adults? You want your kids to enjoy reading and know how to tell when somebody is lying to them? You want your kids to have a better life than you did? Well??? What do you think your grandparents did? I know: turned your parents over to the government schools; sorry, me, too! You can do better than we did.

    The rest of us watch and help and donate money and time and effort and teach stuff if they’ll let us and next thing you know, kids will be kids again and they’ll grow into being adults, not have it stuffed up their nose by some government bureaucrat. And then we can all get together with the ways that work – notice: WAYS – and help them out. Oh, and one clue: if the “teacher” has a degree in education, don’t hire them. Instead, find one with a degree in what you want your kids to learn. yes, we can.

  29. I have been thinking this for years.

    -Take a few hundred of the best teachers turn them into highly paid superstars.
    -Let kids pick or switch to ones they like learning from the best.
    -Lectures-tests- homework online
    -Essays, recess, etc. everything else keep in the classroom overseen by a reasonably paid instructional assistant.

  30. Many of these comments are a little harsh. What people don’t realize is how much tougher public school was back then. They were equal to their private counterparts, and they had much more focus. (Heck, they even had grammer schools, elite public institutions for the above average students.) The problem lies in the current curriculum. They need to toughen it up and perhaps have an online component for gifted students; something for schools thjat cannot afford to pay for a gifted program. And it has to be a real gifted program, not a program that forces more work onto the hapless student.

    Teachers are part of the solution, not the problem. They’re at the mercy of the school board and the central office. Liberate the public schools from the tyranny of centralization! Let’s also allow vouchers for private schools. It’ll be relatively easy to fix the problem, actually, so I remain inherently optimistic.

  31. This is great information ? its encouraging to see online education is becoming more widely accepted and the benefits are backed up by a range of studies. http://www.gurukulamuniversity.in

  32. Highschool English teacher weighing in:
    On line classes – HELL YEAH! No more cell phone, I-pod, dress code, drug use,sexual harrassment,bullying to resolve. Double Hell Yeah!
    PS I taught online for National U. What a joke! No way to know who was posting, submitting. And this was a teacher credentialing program.

  33. Bringin shool online would be great but I think many kids would abuse the online system to surf in facebook etc.!

  34. I dont understand what all the fuss was about. It made sense to me why those actions were carried out. he did the right thing in my opinion

  35. Online schooling is the way to go. Has anyone seen Khan Academy? It is growing by leaps and bounds and the important thing is that kids are learning. Check him out.

  36. At this day and age, I’m sure that there are ways to improve an online learning system. It’s just hard for society to break away from tradition.

    Joe
    http://www.wildplanettours.com/

  37. What you said is right but i still believe traditional schools plays an important role in child’s development though online education can be an added advantage.

  38. I’m not so sure — think of all that is lost when you remove children from the traditional brick and mortar. I think the answer is really simpler than all this. We just need to somehow convince our government that education is worth spending money on, actually. Slim chance I know but if we can than no doubt it’ll be worth it!

    Steve
    http://social-squeezer.com

  39. No way to know who was posting, submitting. And this was a teacher credentialing program.I think the answer is really simpler than all this. We just need to somehow convince our government that education is worth spending money on, actually.
    I’m sure that there are ways to improve an online learning system. It’s just hard for society to break away from tradition.
    http://www.cool2deal.com/x360k…..p-179.html

  40. No way to know who was posting, submitting. And this was a teacher credentialing program. I think the answer is really simpler than all this. I’m sure that there are ways to improve an online learning system. It’s just hard for society to break away from tradition.
    http://www.cool2deal.com/x360k…..p-179.html

  41. I definitely agree with some of the comments above, half of the things learned in school aren’t taught by the teacher.

  42. An excellent site for a long time I am following the site almost every day, but I added your site or landing pages get into the commonly used rate slowed down in recent days I wonder if they have a problem with my computer is also unclear to me. Nevertheless, this site would like to thank those who contributed.

  43. Hi
    I agree with a lot of this but i cant see that what you suggest is the answer either

  44. I would also prefer online school. I think my psychiatrist sessions would also be more efficient like this…

  45. Wow, excellent post is exactly what we are looking for, thanks

  46. Nowadays, formal education will make you a living, teaching yourself online will make you a fortune.

  47. This is a great resource for me and Ive used it many times! Thanks

  48. excellent post is exactly what we are looking for, thanks

  49. I think it’s horrible that people don’t know what drugs not to combine http://www.johnnyconrad.com/ce…..cocktails/

  50. We should learn from Finland. I heard they have the best education system in the world.

  51. You can’t be sure that a system borrowed from another country will have success here.

  52. This shows promise. Of course socialization will be impaired. Schools are failing though…

  53. We should learn from Finland. I heard they have the best education system in the world.

  54. “We should learn from Finland. I heard they have the best education system in the world.” So true, we are so far off course that it’s frightening.

  55. There is a stigma out there that a degree earned online is easier than one earned in a traditional classroom. These online colleges need to devise a way to prove that their students are just as capable as their counterparts.

  56. Online schools have a stigma about them that they don’t provide a real education. They need to devise a plan that can prove that their students are just as prepared as their counterparts.

  57. Great post

    Thank you

  58. I am not so sure about the idea. After all children need social contacts too.

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