We have discussed the standard types of education, public schools, private schools, and charter schools. During class readings I saw the subject of online charter schools come up only once but it caught my attention. Online charter schools offer classes fully online for students in k-12 grade levels and can be funded by tax dollars directed towards education. Like other charter schools the online versions are publicly funded and many focus on students from specific demographics. State and local school boards have control over them but they are still a relatively new trend and have instability issues like many newer charter schools. The idea behind online learning has many pros and cons and limit the type of students attaining their education in this format.
One of the major issues that was brought up by Rep. Michael Dembrow, a Portland Democrat, is the chance for private companies to make a great deal of money from public education dollars. Though they are regulated they have a great amount of flexibility because its hard for state and local school boards to keep a close eye on the programs. This article outlines the 4 types of online High schools options for students:http://distancelearn.about.com/od/virtualhighschools/a/HS_Types.htm
Some of the pros to online education would be the flexibility in pace for students who have issues with boredom because the material moves to slowly for them. Other life events such as medical issues or extended illness that keep students from attending class regularly can benefit from the flexible schedule and location. Students who have been bullied or struggled to keep up in a traditional setting can focus just on school instead of the social aspects of public school. Parents don’t have to be actively participating in their students education as they would in a home school setting so students have the benefit of lesson plans, homework, and grading that’s done by teachers and school staff rather than parents. Oregon’s Online Learning Policy “Requires that at least 95% of instructional hours be taught by Oregon-licensed teachers”. Some online lessons include instructional videos that a student can watch and re-watch as needed.
Though I see the point of online learning and its popular for some college courses I feel the challenges and limitations with using this system for k-12 students out way the benefits for now. There doesn’t seem to be much outside accountability for students and setting your own pace could mean going to slow for some students. Some articles mentioned that some students were given resources such as a computer to use but it would still exclude families without internet connections or parents who held a child accountable for getting their work completed. Another important aspect of school is the socialization of children. Without school days filled with other classmates and social activities students would need parents or guardians to have them enrolled in after school activities or social events in their community. Not all parents have the time or income to get these needs covered for their child. Another major issues with charter schools and especially the online setting would be how to provide access to all students, especially those with disabilities.
- Would the online style of education minimize a students learning of daily structure and accountability to authority such as teachers and principals that is essential for preparing them for later life?
- Should public school dollars be spent to fund online education for students?
- Are instructional videos as informative and helpful as in class lecture? What are the benefits of video lessons?
- Would the flexibility of online charter schools benefit students in specific demographics more than others? Examples: teen parents, drop outs, honor students bored with standard pace.
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