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Old 10-05-2011, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Colorado
1,706 posts, read 2,932,176 times
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That is wonderful that some people have had good experiences. However, it takes a dedicated learner to turn on the computer everyday, stop facebooking and actually DO the work.

That is the issue with these schools. There is no accountability. We recently had three students come into our school from the online schools and they are quite far behind.

So while some states have good online programs, Colorado truly doesn't. It needs to be overhauled and they need to be put to the fire as traditional schools.
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:31 PM
 
Location: Bend, OR
3,296 posts, read 8,217,088 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_hug99 View Post
That is wonderful that some people have had good experiences. However, it takes a dedicated learner to turn on the computer everyday, stop facebooking and actually DO the work.

That is the issue with these schools. There is no accountability. We recently had three students come into our school from the online schools and they are quite far behind.

So while some states have good online programs, Colorado truly doesn't. It needs to be overhauled and they need to be put to the fire as traditional schools.
I agree with you that it takes a dedicated user, but how is this really different from the public school setting? I had plenty of students who barely did anything and would coast by. I couldn't hold them back, even though their grades were failing, they never did homework, etc. Our entire educational system is in the tank right now! It really doesn't make a difference whether the kids are attending a physical or cyber school. If they don't put the effort into it, they aren't going to learn.
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:23 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
19,053 posts, read 8,952,548 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicWizard View Post

I can go at my own pace and not at a pace that is fostered on me by the teacher, having to meet some standard imposed on them by an office bound administrator, having a standard imposed on them by a politician in Washington.
Gee, that's odd. I taught for 13 years. And was an administrator for 13 more. Not once did anyone in Washington ever tell me what to do.
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:25 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
19,053 posts, read 8,952,548 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delta07 View Post
...Not everyone is a social person, and sending those extremely introverted kids to public school is very hard, if not detrimental to them. Most of us can learn to socialize, or get by, but some simply cannot.
I would say that further isolating extremely introverted kids would be aggravating the situation.
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:27 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
19,053 posts, read 8,952,548 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delta07 View Post
I agree with you that it takes a dedicated user, but how is this really different from the public school setting? I had plenty of students who barely did anything and would coast by. I couldn't hold them back, even though their grades were failing, they never did homework, etc. Our entire educational system is in the tank right now! It really doesn't make a difference whether the kids are attending a physical or cyber school. If they don't put the effort into it, they aren't going to learn.
1. The #1 determinant of what happens in the classroom is the teacher.
2. Saying, "Our entire educational system is in the tank right now," is a gross exaggeration.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,756 posts, read 16,481,319 times
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pheteroi wrote:
Gee, that's odd. I taught for 13 years. And was an administrator for 13 more. Not once did anyone in Washington ever tell me what to do.
Your experience must have taken place prior to No Child Left Behind, or perhaps your school was already in compliance before that monstrosity was unleashed.



delta07 wrote:
If they don't put the effort into it, they aren't going to learn.
Right on the money! And for a student to put forth the effort, the curriculum has to have some intrinsic appeal to them. Unless schools have changed dramatically since I graduated from HS in '67, unfortunately that is not the case.
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Old 10-06-2011, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Bend, OR
3,296 posts, read 8,217,088 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phetaroi View Post
I would say that further isolating extremely introverted kids would be aggravating the situation.
Why do you say that? Some people are perfectly content by themselves. Forcing kids into a social situation they are not comfortable with aggravates the problem. Believe me, I saw this with several of my students. They were picked on and made fun of for being "weird." It made their school experience miserable and often their grades hurt because of it. You can't force someone to be something they are not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phetaroi View Post
1. The #1 determinant of what happens in the classroom is the teacher.
2. Saying, "Our entire educational system is in the tank right now," is a gross exaggeration.
While I would like to agree with you, I simply cannot. I don't have the experience of working in a "good" school, so maybe that situation is different. However, in my situation, we had to teach by the "book." There was no room for going outside of the curriculum. Our daily reading and math activities were planned out for us. When CSAP time came around, we were practically forced to teach to the test. As I see the US continue to decline, I can't help but say that we are in the tank. The results speak for themselves.
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
19,053 posts, read 8,952,548 times
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[quote=CosmicWizard;21173996]pheteroi wrote:
Gee, that's odd. I taught for 13 years. And was an administrator for 13 more. Not once did anyone in Washington ever tell me what to do.
Your experience must have taken place prior to No Child Left Behind, or perhaps your school was already in compliance before that monstrosity was unleashed.


Sorry, but I was the principal in the middle school for most of the years of NCLB. The only directives we had were to improve student learning. It was up to our state, district, and teacher forums on how we did that, and frankly the state didn't get involved to any significant extent in the "how" of it. The federal government saying that teachers and administrators need to improve learning doesn't bother me a bit. It seems like a rather common sense principle.

The whole concept of federal - versus - state - versus - local control of schools is a legitimate debate, although I've been in third world countries that were amazed that (at the time) we didn't really have a national education policy. I've personally seen local school control screw it all up royally (as one example, East Rochester, NY). I'm quite aware of states screwing it up royally (can't most of us name several states at the bottom of the barrel, and then there's D.C., which operates pretty much as a state system). How to best operate schools is not settled on; it will remain an experiment because you're dealing with humans at all levels. There are no firm answers, and we just have to continue to find out which practices work best, and that may vary from school to school, district to district, state to state.

The one place the federal government has intruded to a large extent at the school level is special education.
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Old 10-07-2011, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
19,053 posts, read 8,952,548 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delta07 View Post
Why do you say that? Some people are perfectly content by themselves. Forcing kids into a social situation they are not comfortable with aggravates the problem. Believe me, I saw this with several of my students. They were picked on and made fun of for being "weird." It made their school experience miserable and often their grades hurt because of it. You can't force someone to be something they are not.



While I would like to agree with you, I simply cannot. I don't have the experience of working in a "good" school, so maybe that situation is different. However, in my situation, we had to teach by the "book." There was no room for going outside of the curriculum. Our daily reading and math activities were planned out for us. When CSAP time came around, we were practically forced to teach to the test. As I see the US continue to decline, I can't help but say that we are in the tank. The results speak for themselves.
You know, it's alright for us to have different views on the state of education. There are few "in concrete" answers. And I can understand how our experiences differ.

I can see your point (but not necessarily agree) about putting certain children in totally different learning settings if they are anti-social (for wont of a better term). But I think back to a student we had in junior high named Eric. This was a very long time ago before there really were alternative learning settings. Eric was the most anti-social young person I have ever met. To give you an idea, although he was truly brilliant, if other students or the teacher got to close to him, he would yell, "Booger Alert", and pick his nose and wipe it on the offending student or teacher...or if they backed away at the warning, he would then make a big deal of eating it. Really...I'm not joking or exaggerating. This was just one of his strategies. I was only the AP then, and the principal wanted to "let it go". And so, no one did anything to help Eric. I wish I knew what happened to him. I try to imagine -- 20 years later -- what did we prepare him for? What kind of career did he ever have? Eric should have been given counseling and probably some psychological treatment because he will live for his whole life in various communities, not sitting alone at a computer.

The situation you talk about teaching in -- well, I can see various sides to it, but I do sympathize.

Teaching by the book. Well, that can mean a lot of things. On the one hand, I am familiar with school systems or individual schools where teachers are handed lesson plans and told what lessons they are to teach on what particular day. Generally speaking, that's absurd, and should only be reserved for teachers who are on warning that they must "improve or get fired" status. On the other hand, teachers need to follow the curriculum, with some leeway. When still teaching, I was a good example of how it shouldn't work. I taught earth science and concentrated on geology, earth history, and meteorology, but did the absolute minimum with the major unit of astronomy. I taught what I liked most, and nobody was checking. Now, with that particular curriculum, I doubt any kids are suffering today due to my decisions, but it might be harmful if the curriculum were math or English or even social studies. Another time, I had to ultimately fire a teacher who -- despite repeated warnings over several months -- insisted on teaching math "the Vietnamese way". She refused to stick with the curriculum. When did I intercede with a teacher regarding following the curriculum, when testing showed that the kids weren't learning the curriculum. Otherwise, my teachers had wide decision making latitude in terms of curriculum and teaching methods.

Teaching to the test. Well, mixed feelings about that, as well. Is it a good test? Does it test what's important in the curriculum? Is it a balanced test? If the answer to all those questions is "yes", then I don't see a problem with teaching to the test. If the teacher does something akin to teachering the questions that came up on previous tests -- and I've seen that done -- then no, that's not appropriate.

As I said earlier, there's lots of room for debate about the hows of teaching. But, we have gotten more scientific about teaching. And, just like I don't want my doctor or lawyer relying on "gut feeling", I don't want teachers relying on that, either. We know a lot about how kids learn now that we didn't know 30 years ago. And we need to be professional about it, be open to teaching methods that aren't simply the way we learned when we were kids.

I think teachers also have to realize that when they sign that contract with a school district, they have agreed to fulfill what's in that contract. And that usually includes sticking with the curriculum. It's a hard decision to say, "I can't fulfill my contact, so I'm leaving." I did that once in a district in Maryland (Prince Georges County) when I knew that with a student load of 180+ per day, I couldn't perform at the level I had set for myself. I quit and moved to Virginia with a school system (Fairfax County) where the student load was more like 125 per day, and teachers were relatively happy and excited about teaching.

Teaching is a far more challenging profession than the average taxpayer realizes.
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Southeastern Colorado
319 posts, read 621,931 times
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BTW, The Denver Post article on the same topic gave a bit of a shout-out to Branson School Online, noting that "after some early administrative missteps, (the school) has emerged among the better schools in terms of performance and retention."

Oversight yet to catch up with Colorado's burgeoning online schools - The Denver Post

Out here in tiny Branson, the online school (+/- 429 students) and the brick-and-mortar K-12 (+/- 30 students) are among our greatest assets, esp. for young families seeking a quiet, rural, close-knit community. (Sorry if I'm going OT; the Moderator knows I just can't pass up an opportunity to introduce new folks to Branson...)

Seeking a rural, SE ranch town w/grasslands & mesas?
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