Posted on January 14, 2014
Online charter schools, which the capital venturists (new word) like to refer to as “blended learning”, is basically putting a student in front of a computer where they are to read, do their lessons and take tests.
Sports is not part of this program, just the basics.
The reason for the proliferation of these enterprises is that they are cheap to run and generate lots of revenue. At this time, Rocketship, one of the largest online charter chains, has recently increased its student to teacher ratio from 40:1 to 50:1. There is very little overhead, no gym, cafeteria, janitors, staff, just a CEO/Principal/Superintendent and administrative staff. The students do their work at home on a computer and communicate with their teachers via e-mail. The parents communicate with the teacher via phone on a schedule set up by the charter school. That’s the “blended” part, communicating with the teacher via e-mail, phone or “special software” that is promoted by these enterprises.
I believe there is a place for this kind of arrangement, when a student is not able to physically attend school, this would be a good option for those situations but that’s not how the online charter chains see it. They won’t be happy until they can get as many students as possible on a computer 6 to 8 hours a day. It’s all about the money.
Edushyster recently did a great post on Rocketship titled “Planet Ponzi”.
For more information on online charter schools, see:
- An Explosion in Lobbying Around For-Profit K-12 Programs
- “Poverty Is the Problem”: Efforts to Cut Education Funding, Expand Standardized Testing Assailed
- Do Cities Need Virtual Schools?
- Gates Foundation Puts Millions Into Online College Created by Rick Perry
- How Online Learning Companies Bought America’s Schools
- Jeb Bush’s Cyber Attack on Public Schools
- Local media outlets were first to examine virtual schools
- My Teacher Is an App
- Online schools face questions over quality, effectiveness
- Online Schools Make Big Profits from Tax Dollars
- PA Cyber connections prompt inquiry
- Pearson Goes Bold, Acquires Connections Education
- Pearson PLC Says It Will Buy Connections Education for $400 Million
- Profits and Questions at Online Charter Schools
- Rupert Murdoch e-G8 Forum Paris
- Selling Schools Out
- Should Schools Be Run for Profit?
- Special Report: The profit motive behind virtual schools in Maine
- Students of Online Schools Are Lagging
- Study Renews Call to Slow Growth of K12 Inc. Virtual Schools
- The Stealth Campaign to Privatize Education
- Troubled Online Charter Schools
- Virtual schools are multiplying, but some question their educational value
Great documentation – I wrote about “personalized learning” and I think these things all have the commonality of wanting kids to spend more time on computers with “adaptive” curriculum.