This article in the Washington Post that describes the alternative to failing schools: going online. Like early college and service academies, the most innovative programs introducing on-line education to K-12 is happening with low-achieving, “at-risk” kids. Apparently, the school establishment would just as soon hive these off. But they don’t dare give up their middle- and upper-achievers.
Interesting how parents are beginning to come around, probably due to the rising presence of Generation X (born 1961-1981). On-line advocates need to stop trying to confirm quality of instruction and begin to address the community and civic dimensions of education, which I think give rise to most of the qualms. The author mentions this objections, but doesn’t really say how the problem is solved.
She is absolutely right, though, about the irony of the feds giving new R&D money to post-secondary schools to develop on-line education—as if they need it: The University of Phoenix is now hitting 500,000 enrollees, more than the Big Ten combined! But nothing for K-12, which remains an utter backwater in the application of any kind of technology beyond the occasional classroom movie. In this, the teachers unions truly are reactionary.