Online Learning Questioned

Just last week, over 1900 K-12 educators meet at the Virtual School Symposium to discuss ways to better serve K-12 students in online and blended schools.   At the same time, higher education educators met at the Sloan C Conference to discuss ways to better serve college students in online and blended schools.

During this week, a series of articles have been published that are critical about online learning and essentially make the same arguments over and over.  First, “My Teacher is an App” was written in the Wall Street Journal.  I wrote a response to this article here.  However there were other responses from Tom Vander Ark refuting the article, while Will Richardson wrote in support of the article on his blog and then reposted on Edutopia.  Then, Meg Evans at the Innosight Institute brought to our attention how Mother Jones has now politicized online learning with the essay written an essay entitled, “Jeb Bush’s Cyberattack on Public Schools“.  Now, The Nation has published another politically slanted article entitled, “How Online Learning Companies Bought America’s Schools.”

These articles all suggest that online learning is a veiled attempt to implement school voucher programs, privatize education and destroy teacher unions.   And then two of the articles suggest that Jeb Bush is the mastermind behind all of these attempts.  I’m not sure how one connects all of these areas, but I suppose that is how politics works.

No doubt this is a continuing conversation about American education.  Are we happy with the American education system the way it currently is?  Are we happy with the fact that there are between 30-50% of students dropping out of high school (depending on where you live) and never earning a high school diploma?

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