Education

Happiness Is a Warm Body on the Other End of the Computer

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qualified teacher

As online education creeps into the headlines, some states are rushing to demand additional credentials from online teachers. As with all occupational licensing regulations, demanding that teachers complete year-long courses, approved professional development courses, and other state-selected training means locking would-be online teachers out, and making sure that teachers who are certified have been trained in a particular way of thinking. Here's a perfect "missing the point" quote from EdWeek:

"We can put any warm body on the other end of the computer, but are those kids going to learn?" said Christina Linder, the director of certification and professional standards at the Idaho Department of Education. "Based on what we know, no."

The thing that makes online education so exciting is that a lot of what we know about effective teaching may no longer apply. Maybe having pools of cheap workers with a minimal skill sets coaching each kid individually from Bangalore is better than having one traditionally educated and qualified teacher for a classroom of 25. Maybe tomorrow's online teachers are getting all the training they need on Facebook today. Maybe the best teachers in the future won't be human beings at all. Nothing will slow the process of exploring these options more effectively than a bunch of state rushing to adopt mandatory teacher certification for online schools.

Education entrepreneur and blogger Tom Vander Ark says it nicely: "States are rushing to manage a set of inputs they don't understand with the historical monopoly tool of certification.  It's clear most of these hurdles will not add quality (just guaranteed work and revenue for state offices and colleges)."

Lots more on the forces slowing down online education here.

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  1. What’s not to like?

  2. We’ve gotta protect our phoney-baloney jobs, gentlemen, we must do something about this immediately!

  3. As with all occupational licensing regulations, demanding that teachers complete year-long courses, approved professional development courses, and other state-selected training means locking would-be online teachers out

    Thanks to our court system we now have a way to solve this problem. By deciding not to become a teacher, you are driving up the cost of education by reducing the supply of education. This affects interstate commerce, so we’ve just got to get Congress to pass a law “mandating” you become a teacher.

  4. What exactly is the difference between this and mandating government certification for florists?

    1. Florists provide a useful service, that’s what.

    2. An unlicensed florist can’t harm you taste is subjective, I agree. A teacher on the other hand without the proper education courses and certification could do a very poor job of education children and thus harm their future.

      1. D-

        Not emotive enough. Concern troll doesn’t sound concerned.

      2. Unlike those properly educated and certified teachers in the DC public school system doing such a bang-up job.

        1. “We can put any warm body on the other end of the computer, but are those kids going to learn?” said Christina Linder, the director of certification and professional standards at the Idaho Department of Education. “Based on what we know, no.”

          Based on what we know, the warm bodies the state is putting LIVE in front of the children…is not edumacating the childrens.
          ritten by pubicly edumacated stewdent.

      3. An unlicensed florist can’t harm you taste is subjective, I agree. A teacher on the other hand without the proper education courses and certification could do a very poor job of education children and thus harm their future.

        But what would we do without the run-on sentences of the world?

      4. An unlicensed florist can’t harm you taste is subjective, I agree. A teacher on the other hand without the proper education courses and certification could do a very poor job of education children and thus harm their future.

        But what would we do without the run-on sentences of the world?

        1. Insert semicolons. (See the first sentence of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.)

      5. A teacher on the other hand without the proper education courses and certification could do a very poor job of education children and thus harm their future.

        Yes, that’s why parents should be able to choose who they want to educate their child. I’m guessing your parents never had that choice, considering the level of education you appear to be at.

      6. A teacher who plays grabass with their students and thus harms their future simply hasn’t had the proper education courses and certification.

  5. *ahem*

    But it’s for teh childrun!

  6. I’ve heard that online teachers are creepy perverts trying to put their virtual hands on your daughter, and other gross stuff. You know, things a pubic school teacher would never do.

      1. OOH, so good to read Reason on the weekend and be able to click the porn related links!
        Wow, fired just for wearing a bikini? Still, I think she is of more benefit to mankind as a porn star.

    1. I always wanted to go to pubic school.

    2. So, was that an intentional typo, or what?

  7. “….additional credentials from online teachers. As with all occupational licensing regulations,…”

    …the real purpose is protecting those entrenched in the occupation from competition.

  8. HELL YEAH!

    SCREW THE TEACHERS!

    SCREW EDUCATION!

    LET’S PUT ALL OUR KIDS ON COMPUTERS SO THE ARABS CAN PLAN MORE TERRORIST ATTACKS AGAINST US!

    JOHN WAYNE, SUCKERS! JOHN WAYNE!

    HURR DURR DUUUURRRRR HUUUURRRR!

  9. Schools fear loss of control over kids’ behavior and what is acceptable knowledge to transfer.

    Online education = loss of that control.

  10. I can read, for which I should thank a retired dentist. Wait, he didn’t have a teacher certification so he probably did it wrong. Have I been reading incorrectly all these years and just didn’t know it? I shall have to consult with a certified teacher immediately and see if I need some remedial instruction.

    1. me too, for which I can thank a high-school educated mother.

      One of my favorite themes in To Kill A Mockingbird is the non-necessity of a school-based education. When Scout comes home upset because her teachers tells her Atticus has no business teaching her to read, I really feel for her. I liked to highlight the anti-school (as opposed to anti-education) message of the book for students.

  11. “We can put any warm body on the other end of the computer, but are those kids going to learn?” said Christina Linder, the director of certification and professional standards at the Idaho Department of Education. “Based on what we know, no.”

    How do these people say this stuff with a straight face?

    “Well, you know, I have a Masters Degree in Art Education. That’s how I know the sky in your finger painting should be blue, and not green.”

    1. My kids have done some Florida Virtual School courses. The teachers, by and large, are worse than useless. What the hell happened to education, anyway?

      1. My kid did a couple of virtual HS courses also. They would have been pretty good if there had been no ‘effing teacher at all — the courseware was good and would have worked well for independent learning. But the damn warm-bodies on the other end were annoying as hell — imposing nonsensical additional deadlines and requirements, manually regrading work and generally mucking things up.

        An even bigger problem than requiring licensed, certified online instructors is requiring online instructors at all. One of the most ridiculous aspects to this I’ve seen is friends doing online college courses and having to log in for virtual class chat sessions and being graded on attendance and participation.

      2. We’ve deified teachers and the process of teaching, is what. Teaching is a useful profession, but there’s nothing inherently magical or noble about it. But we let everyone go on and on about the near impossibility of tasks like teaching a kid to read and write in only 18 years. And in doing so we provide excuses for dumb and lazy teachers who simply suck.

  12. Schools fear loss of control over kids’ behavior and what is acceptable knowledge to transfer.

    The voice of experience.

  13. Just the fact that the Idaho Department of Education (IDE) was the one quoted makes me shake my head in disgust.

    I grew up in Idaho and attended several schools (including college) there. Of all the states to fight online education, they would be the ones because… Rural America is losing its youth to out-of-state schools.

    When you have to choose between driving on dangerous, icy, snow-covered roads for 45 minutes one-way, in the dark, to attend a 50-minute lecture 2 or 3 days a week or take an on-line course where you can log in while safely sitting in the comfort of your own home or local library less than 5 minutes away, it’s not hard to see why more and more of those would-be Idaho/rural college students make the RIGHT CHOICE for them.

    Basically, Idaho and other rural states are feeling threatened by the imaginary loss of revenue. I say imaginary because those same students would drop out, not paying any tuition if online classes were not offered (I know this for a fact because I’ve witnessed it).

    Pretty soon, mark my words, you will see where “residing states” will “tax” the “online state” for “lost revenue” just like you have to pay sales tax for purchases made online from out-of-state vendors. Makes me SICK!

    The U.S. needs to put the value of education at the top of its priority list so America will stop acting like a Third World/Primitive society! Education should be a bigger federal spending budget than military and defense spending.

    Educate the people and they would know how to defend themselves with words rather than guns.

    People would be able to communicate their needs, not rob or kill to steal something they could have paid for because they were able to get a better job instead of living paycheck-to-paycheck or working three jobs to make ends meet. They would also have more time to spend communicating with friends, neighbors and their own children because they’re not so tired from working two minimum-wage jobs.

    Rural communities need to embrace education in any form it comes in ~ online, in a traditional classroom, or from a volunteer. Education is key to our future.

  14. Won’t this just mean that schools in states without the certifications will have an advantage? I could see schools opening an online branch HQ’d in South Carolina and granting degrees to students in Idaho.

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