As a parent of 2 students currently enrolled in a full-time online program and one graduate of a full-time online program, I completely and wholeheartedly disagree with almost every one of Dr. Barbour’s comments in this article.
I’ll go one step further to say that this article along with other negative press that has been written over the past several months has given public online schools the reputation they do not deserve.
Dropout rates are once again discussed, but the logical reasons for why students drop out of an online program are not mentioned. There are a vast number of reasons why families choose the online model and then leave the program. Some find the curriculum too rigorous, the student is not self-motivated, or the home structure turns out not to be a good fit. The online model requires support, accountability, and a high level of involvement and commitment from an adult, a parent or other responsible adult supporting the student as their learning coach and/or mentor.
When asked how he became concerned with the development of cyber and charter school education, Dr. Barbour responded with, “I became a teacher in the tiny rural fishing community of Bonavista. The only Advanced Placement (AP) classes offered were online, and AP social studies didn’t exist. So I got a little federal funding and started an online AP social studies program.”
Kudos to Dr. Barbour, that’s one of the great advantages of online programs. I applaud you for providing students in the rural areas with an opportunity to take an AP social studies course.
The article goes on to talk about student data that is gathered, which shows how the school performs and its annual yearly progress. We base so much of student achievement on one annual state standardized test. Assessment models need to change and we need to consider measurement tools that provide data on how well students are achieving. That’s true for “ALL” students not just online students.
The Curse of the #2 Pencil: The Standardized Testing Debate offers some GREAT insight in to how we innovate on assessment.
The headline alone of this article is appalling to me!
As a parent of students who successfully school online and as an active supporter of the online public school option, I see firsthand how this model helps students succeed. The online model is an effective high quality public school option that should be made available to ALL students!
Thank you to iNACOl for the continued involvement and contribution of research, advocacy, and sharing of information to support quality K-12 online education.
Thank you to all supporters of K-12 online education who are truly making a difference in this anytime anywhere learning that will transform our educational future.
Disclosure: Please read “About Me”