It was an email I received that said, “I saw you quoted in an article in “THE Journal” (July 26, 2011). As I read the article, I remembered the interview occurred in late May or early June and I had forgotten all about it. After reading the article, I think the writer does a great job of identifying the challenges school districts have in implementing online learning programs.
However, I do have a problem with the headline, “Competing for the Virtual Student.” Having implemented an online charter school, I know from meeting the parents and students that it is more about choosing the education that works for individual students and not competition. In order to increase the high school graduation rate, all types of schools are needed. It really is not about competition. It is about having a variety of educational options for students so they succeed in high school.
Secondly, there was one quote in the article that was taken out of context from my interview. The author quoted me as saying, “The problem with the Florida model, is they set up a separate school with separate teachers, and that has an impact on the traditional schools.” The context of this quote was the fact that the Florida Virtual School model was set up as a separate entity with separate teachers and therefore, the online teaching and pedagogy of teachers in the Florida Virtual School does not directly impact teachers in traditional high schools or influence their use of online resources for their instruction. As we have read from “Disrupting Class“, it may be that the only way to provide an effective online program is similar to the Florida Virtual School model. However, many schools and districts are hopeful they can utilize online course tools as part of their face-to-face instruction. Up to this point in time, there are few models of success with the latter model comparable to Florida Virtual School.