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Rotten apple
The awesomeness that is cyber schooling:
While the Pittsburgh Online Academy has had 144 students in grades 6-12 since it opened last fall, only 47 are still enrolled. That includes only 17 of the original 55.

"I think it has to do with fit," said Mark McClinchie, district coordinator of virtual learning. "I think in Pennsylvania we're in an environment where we've oversold the idea of online learning, and this is coming from someone who runs one."

But don't worry! They're going to tweak the cyber school model to make it suck incrementally less! They hope. And here's a way to see the bright side of all those kids leaving the cyber school: According to McClinchie, anecdotal evidence suggests that of the kids who transferred back to brick-and-mortar schools, "Most went back with a renewed sense of commitment that the grass was not greener on the other side."

And more:

  • How did the Boston shutdown affect worker paychecks?
    “Most low wage workers can’t afford to lose a day’s pay, and there’s no doubt this lockdown will adversely impact the city’s working poor,” said Jessica Kutch, a labor activist who co-founded the organizing site coworker.org, in an email to Salon. “I’d really like to see employers state on the record that their hourly workers will be paid for the time they were scheduled to work today — but I suspect that most employers will place the burden of this shutdown squarely on the backs of people who can least afford it.”

    Some workers may be forced to use their paid time off or vacation time for Friday, labor activists fear. An employee of Boston Children’s Hospital tweeted that HR was requiring employees to use their vacation time during the lockdown, but eventually backed down some internal pushback.

    It would be good to see some naming-and-shaming here.
  • Meet some of the 8 percent of American households—and 20 percent of African American and Latino households—without bank accounts.
  • Chicago teachers forced to work a longer day have gotten a settlement giving them back pay for the extra time.
  • New York City public advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio is calling for an investigation into Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy.
  • Charter school teachers organized a union at Ivy Academia in Los Angeles.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I knew a guy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BeninSC, Susan from 29, mungley

    that wanted to start a private school for music students (he was a music teacher, and led a jazz band in one of the local middle schools). His dream school involved a combination of brick and mortar and online learning, the online mostly when the students would be traveling to do concerts and the like. Like most of his grand plans, fell through when he proved to be all talk and no action, but at least I learned how much you had to go through to write a business plan (and to make sure that the person you're planning to enter business with isn't a major bullshit artist -- thank goodness I only wasted time, not money, on him).

    In limited situations, online education can work -- say if you've got a student who needs to spend a lot of time in hospitals, or a family that has to go overseas for an extended period of time. But it requires a lot of commitment, as well as adult involvement.

    There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by Cali Scribe on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 03:10:39 PM PDT

  •  I have a great-grandson who has Aspergers. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko, mungley, berrieh

    He has difficulty concentrating in a brick and mortar classroom setting. For him, online education has been a blessing. The way his school district works is that he does daily work online and reports to the school for testing on a regular basis. Because it is a district program, he is also allowed to participate in the sports programs at his local high school.

    I think online learning can benefit a certain segment of the student body, but it is definitely not for all. It requires strong parental involvement and a self-motivated student.

    We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

    by Susan Grigsby on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 03:20:21 PM PDT

    •  That is a very specialized case (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Susan from 29, mungley

      and usually involves extremely engaged parents. I too know someone whose child was having difficulty concentrating in a regular classroom so they homeschooled both boys for several years. I can see cyberschooling being a supplement to that. But doesn't someone have to physically oversee him, or is this a much older child? Surely, a parent must be there if he is under high school age, and that's not doable for most parents.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 03:28:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cyber schooling can be great for secondary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Susan from 29

      As a supplement (we have some students who attend half day and do some online at my school) and within a district that knows how to use it.

      I've considered working for the Virtual School. A lot of their students are high-need in my district and more effectively served with less distractions. It is good for many students with behavioral issues to do half and half, in my experience. Our Virtual Schools are under the same union contract and everything and the students can do extracurriculars at brick and mortar. Most VS students here are half-time though.

      Cyber elementary schools don't seem to provide the same benefit, however.

  •  What I don't get about cyberschools (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mostel26

    is, who are they directed at?

    Middle class families looking to send their kids to college won't substitute one of these schools of their local real school.

    I'm baffled as to how poor kids whose often single parent works a couple of minimum wage jobs are going to use them. Who sits home with the 8-year-old while he's "attending" cyberschool and making sure he does his work? If mom is unemployed and home, she's even less likely to have the educational skills to help her kid if he runs into problems.

    The only role I can see for them is to enhance the work of homeschool parents. But that's a small group, and it doesn't seem like the people they're marketing these schools to are those hands-on parents. It seems like they're aiming for kids in neighborhoods with poor, underresourced schools. So who does start home with that 8-year-old all day to make sure he's not playing video games?

    Jon Husted is a dick.

    by anastasia p on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 03:26:27 PM PDT

    •  I just saw one advertised yesterday... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mungley

      ... over on Qubo.  It was actually quite weird, because they acted like they were automatically accredited here in MA (heh not so much).  

      I know several people who homeschool in other states (due to either ADHD or some fundamentalists taking over a school district); some of the online programming they've already used.  But a lot of the work needs to be hands on -- science experiments CANNOT be done online.  

    •  I see four main markets (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mostel26

      homeschool parents, wanna-be homeschool parents, kids in intense sports training in non-school sports, and people who travel or who want to travel.

      But the online providers don't actually care. They just want bodies.

      Oh, and you get a free computer if you enroll your kid.

      I agree - the online charter schools are not appropriate for anyone who doesn't have a committed parent doing the watchdogging.

      We've been trying to find some good online curriculum that we can use to supplement our brick-and-mortar school offerings; as a small rural high school, we can't offer everything we'd like. I have been surprised at how thin the offerings are, especially for the gifted/self-starter kids that are an obvious fit for online courses.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:46:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't be too hard on cyber-schools, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, mungley, Mostel26

    think of the profit margins! No brick-and-mortar buildings to maintain or buses to run and student-teacher ratios of 500-to-1. Once the software is written, it's all gravy baby.

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 05:35:18 PM PDT

  •  Guess what you've attracted ads for? n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mungley

    "with rights come responsibilities." Wrong. Responsibilities continue to exist even if you abdicate your rights.

    by happymisanthropy on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 06:14:08 PM PDT

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