Section 21f of the 2013 School Aid Act radically changed the regulations regarding students and online learning. Please watch the following ~11 minute video that discusses the changes to the limits and procedures regarding online courses and students' abilities to take courses from a variety of locations. As you watch the video, think about how online instruction can be beneficial, and think of the pitfalls/problems that arise.
Also, I would like you to download and read the documents in the .zip file noted on the first slide of the video by clicking here.
Now, think of the following scenarios:
- You're a rural district with only a few hundred students total. A child wants to take courses like calculus, but they cannot feasibly be offered by your high school.
- You're a principal of a school. An overbearing parent comes to you. Their first son had Mr. Siko for chemistry and hated him. He's the only chemistry teacher, and now their younger son has him. They want to pull him out and have him take it online. Can you prevent this? Should you prevent this?
- A child comes into your class, having transferred from a 'cyberschool'. It is clear the quality was subpar. Any of this child's standardized test scores this year are tied to your performance evaluation under the new teacher evaluation guidelines.
- I am a teacher whose district is embracing online learning. It is attracting many students from other districts, and this generates extra revenue (students = $$). I am asked to be a 'facilitator' for these students, who are not required to attend during the school day. I am not given extra release time for this.
- I am a 12th grade student who was diagnosed with leukemia the summer before my senior year. I am unable to attend a full day of school while receiving treatment. I want to graduate on time with my friends.
Do you think schools are equipped to handle these changes? Do you think the changes will occur rapidly (i.e., this coming fall) or will they be unnoticeable by most? How is your school handling this (consider asking your administrator to see how s/he is imagining the larger picture)?
Your initial response should be posted by 11:59pm on Sunday, April 19th. The following week you will be placed into groups as usual for comments and discussion.
(One final note: if you're one of the students not currently in K-12 or in Michigan, I would appreciate any additional knowledge about online learning in your state; conversely, you may ask your children's teachers about it as well.)