Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WSJ Picks Problems, Misses the Promise of Learning Online

Tom Vander Ark with a rebuttal to the WSJ article in my last email about online learning:

Here's six things they missed:

1.Two-thirds of American kids don't get what they need or deserve from school (and that's before we raise the bar to real college/career ready standards).

2. Options are good.  Families choose full time online options for many reasons.

3. Online is accountable. All of these programs operate under a performance contract with a nonprofit board which enters into a performance contract with the state.  These two levels of accountability are stronger than what is in place for traditional schools.

4. Geography is no longer a barrier. Except where states (and spotty broadband) get in the way, every American student now has access to a rigorous well taught K-12 curriculum.

5. Scale is no longer a barrier.  Quality at scale is the education challenge of our day, but we finally have a dozen (nonprofit and for-profit) providers that together could give every student in America access to every AP course, every STEM course, and every foreign language.  If Duncan wanted to offer free online summer school to every student, it would be a snap.  The only thing standing in the way of access to quality teachers and courses is local and state policy.

6. The world is blended.  Our kids are digital but our schools are stuck in the world we grew up in.  For the last 15 years, full time online learning has been a great option for a few kids.  This small market is developing platforms and practices that will revolutionize schools.  By the end of this decade, most U.S. schools will blend the best of online and onsite learning.


WSJ Picks Problems, Misses the Promise of Learning Online

November 12, 2011 - by Tom Vander Ark

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