Occupy Des Moines is planning to protest the opening of Connections Academy and K12 Inc, Iowa’s initial two full-time online schools, outside the Capitol on Friday.
A press release from the increasingly splintered and disparate Occupy movement stated:
The rally, from 6 to 8 p.m., will focus on what occupy members call the “infiltration of for-profit corporations into our children’s education,”
The schools have generated considerable angst amongst those with anti-online school agendas and those who simply don’t believe they provide a credible alternative to traditional brick and mortar public education. Critics had hoped to use ‘Dillon’s Rule’ to derail the schools but Iowa’s Attorney General Tom Miller recently declared that it didn’t prohibit online schools as long as a computer wasn’t the sole tool used by students, and that teachers met licensing standard.
While some dubious online universities have given the public a negative impression of online education in general, the potential positives at K-12 level are obvious. Student haves more freedom to move at their own pace, which is probably the most important aspect of individualizing their education experience. Brighter students have more time to spend on subjects they find difficult, or studying AP courses, instead of being forced to sit in lessons they find trivially easy. Students left behind or failed by traditional schools, either from disciplinary or academic problems, have a route back into education where they can catch up to their peers. Students won’t have their academic experience ruined by bullying.
Our public schools were weak compared with those of other nations even before No Child Left Behind became law. The system is based on an antiquated one-size-fits-all approach that cannot work any longer.
Detractors tend to have similar misconceptions as to the dangers of digital teaching that people do about home school. Essentially that it’s too easy to goof off. This line of argument tends to ignore that brick and mortar classrooms aren’t exactly a model of well-behaved studious children. If they were education wouldn’t be at the precipice it is now.