Last week I saw this blog entry come through my RSS reader – Digital Learning Now Shows State Progress. If you aren’t familiar with this, it is the annual ranking of how states are progressing in implementing the neo-liberals agenda of education and digital education. Believe it or not, that is the nice or politically correct description of the rankings.
The honest description is that it is a ranking of how easy companies can come in, set-up shop, get approval for sub-standard online programs, and then rape and pillage public education.
Either way, it isn’t an actual ranking of how well states are doing with digital learning!
Now the actual report for 2013 is available at http://reportcard.digitallearningnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/DLN_ReportCard_FINAL.pdf and the press release is available at http://www.digitallearningnow.com/press-release/2013-digital-learning-report-card-signals-progress-in-high-quality-digital-learning-options/.
The new state-by-state map isn’t available yet, but you can access the 2012 one at http://www.digitallearningnow.com/reportcard/#grade0. It is interesting to actually look at individual state profiles.
I see that my current state, Connecticut, was dead last in 2012. I’m kind of proud of my new state for that fact. It is interesting to note some of the individual statements that each state is graded on.
2. All students must complete at least one online course to earn a high school diploma.
Limited research that is available indicates that learning at a distance in the K-12 environment has little, and even a negative, effect on their ability to learn at a distance later in life.
4. No school district may restrict student enrollment in full-time online school or in an individual online course through enrollment caps or geographic boundaries.
Research has shown that full-time online programs that have a managed growth and/or limited geographic reach have much greater success than those without either.
13. No additional burdens are placed on the approval and procurement processes for digital content beyond those for print content.
23. Online providers, including virtual charter schools, full-time online providers, and individual online course providers, are allowed to appeal decisions or revise and resubmit their applications after a denial.
24. multiple opportunities during the year are available for virtual charter schools, full-time online providers, and individual online course providers to apply for approval.
25. Approval of digital providers lasts for three or more years
History has shown that cyber charter providers have fought any additional regulations placed on them through initial and on-going approval. Yet, these criteria all run counter to a state’s ability to manage this criteria:
29. As determined by outcomes-based student-performance data, these poor performing schools and courses must be closed: a. virtual charter schools. b. full-time online schools. c. individual online course providers.
If there is little to no oversight and if it is almost impossible to block programs that have been shown to be of poor quality, it makes it difficult to closed or prevent poor performing schools.
34. The same per-pupil funding with the same payment process is provided to all virtual charter schools, full-time online schools, and individual online course providers, regardless of whether the school is public, charter, not-for-profit, or for-profit.
Research and ideologically-based policy documents, including those published by neo-liberal think tanks, have said that full-time online learning costs less. This is an effort to maximize profits, plain and simple.
Just more examples of how the neo-liberal agenda for K-12 online learning runs counter to available research.