Uncategorized

For-profit cyber schools deserve skeptical review

Cross-posted from the blog of State Government Radio commentator Barlow Herget:

See if the pig is in the bag
By Barlow Herget

The idea of the Internet as the next big thing in education is an appealing vision.  There are ways now being tried in some schools in which computer programs and the Internet are designed to aid teachers in developing custom learning plans for individual students.

But the virtual schools that for-profit companies are pedaling to financially strapped North Carolina school boards are pigs in a poke.  The State Board of Education and its chairman Bill Harrison are correct to ask for a detailed review of such questionable sales.

The issue surfaced after the Cabarrus School Board was casting about to save money in these tight budget times.  Under the guise of a charter school, a North Carolina non-profit, NC Learns, sold the Cabarrus board a virtual school program operated by a for-profit company called K12.

The charter school expects to get over $18 million in public school funds, most of which will be paid to K12.  The N.C. Virtual Academy as it’s called, offers to teach 2,700 students from across the state.

Now, stop and think.

Does an on-line K through 12 school pass the common sense test?  Hardly.

How does the company teach elementary students on-line?  It boggles the mind to think that a young child will sit in front of a computer or operate a computer and learn as well as in a classroom with a live, trained teacher.

One report says teachers will be replaced by “coaches” otherwise known as parents.  Not a great idea for children with two working parents.

Yes, young children are adept in operating computers better than many older adults.  But K12 assumes that all students can afford computers that are compatible with its programs and are up-to-date with ever new Internet demands.

What about weekly if not daily Internet and computer glitches?  Computers today are reputed to have more computing power than those that sent astronauts to the Moon.  And the typical computer user today feels like he or she is on the Moon when the machine crashes or inexplicably malfunctions.

These are just the nuts and bolts questions.  There are much larger issues such as the traditional school’s role in teaching children to get along with others.  On that topic, how do virtual school students participate in athletics?  Wii games?   Recent research also reports that children’s brains go on auto-pilot when learning on-line.

The New York Times looked at K12 and found it lacking in student achievement.  The minimum that the state School Board should do is look into K12’s bag to see if the pig is in there and not just a sales squeal.

Check Also

Mark Johnson’s hometown newspaper: State courts must reject his bid for unchecked power in education

This morning’s lead editorial in the Winston-Salem Journal ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

For the 18 months, Gary Brown has been traveling through northeastern North Carolina like an itinera [...]

It will be at least another month before state Superintendent Mark Johnson can take over at the helm [...]

Eric Hall, in the midst of a rainy drive to rural Robeson County to pitch North Carolina’s ambitious [...]

The fire is elusive, but the smoke is thick. An analysis of professional and political relationships [...]

5---number of days since Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham unveiled a new proposal to repeal [...]

The post The stench of hate speech appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

When a Navy recruiter visited his high school, Carlos was among those students eager to sign up. In [...]

Website with ties to Civitas Institute promotes anti-Semitic attack on Attorney General Stein There [...]

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more