Online Schooling: A Backdoor Plan to Lay Off Teachers

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Online schooling seems to be the buzzword around  public schools nationwide.  Oklahoma state superintendent Janet Barresi (R) has mandated that every school K-12 offer at least 5 courses online.  These courses will be accessible at home by students, effectively allowing them to stay at home and still gain credits toward a diploma.

I ask: How do states determine how much to fund each school district?  The answer is called “seat time” which means the number of students actually sitting in brick and mortar classrooms.  There is a move right now in many states to computerize learning so that face to face teachers are removed from the equation. If enough students take advantage of the online school and do not have to report to school for “seat time”, then the school will drop in “seat time” enrollment and lose funding.  Less students in the classroom means less teachers needed to teach subjects, which means… you get the idea.

What is to stop a student from enrolling in these online classes and working at home for three days a week, and then two days, then one day and then not at all?  By the time these kinds of policies have run their course what will that generation of students have to show for it?  Our drop out rates will increase when these students realize that they failed an entire semester because they didn’t do the work at home where many times parents have stopped motivating them. I believe in parents being extremely involved in their child’s education, but many of the parents (at least at the high school level) don’t visit during parent/teacher conference days and are surprised when you call them to let them know that their child isn’t doing well in school.

The problem here is that most of the people supporting this move barely have any real classroom education experience if at all.  Oklahoma’s state superintendent for example has less than two years classroom experience in a small town school and that was as a speech pathologist.    She then went on to run a charter school that was very successful because they could turn students away who were not high performing.  No wonder they were a success.

Until we elect real educators to office we will not see any kind of real answers for public education.  I would like to see our elected officials teach one day in our schools and see how long they last.  I would give them one hour before they run away screaming.  It takes real, hard working professionals in a brick and mortar school to teach students properly.  Computers are great tools, but that is all they are, and they are no substitute for good teaching.


Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

6 thoughts on “Online Schooling: A Backdoor Plan to Lay Off Teachers

  1. I do believe that there is an opportunity to enhance a child’s learning experience through home schooling. I also feel that spmetimes, a school is able to provide better stimuli and interaction with peers. I have used both systems.Both with fantastic results.

  2. This is a great article. And what about the non academic things–like team sports, bands, and learning to socialize, teaching your kids to respect teachers, or how to get by when they don’t click w/a teacher. All valuable lessons in life. Scary to think teachers could be obsolete in any way. Google just isn’t a replacement. Thanks for the great read.

    1. True. School is more than the courses. It teaches social skills, how to gain employment and hold down a job, teamwork, and a plethora of other skills not gained via a processor and a monitor.

  3. Good perspective here, Roger. I was extremely skeptical about what the virtual world could offer high school students before I began teaching online through a charter school in California. Our teachers are all credentialed and our school is WASC accredited. Seat time for our school is determined by student work completion and attendance in live, synchronus classes. While it is not for every student, it IS possible to provide live, synchronus classes where both the teacher and student are engaged in a vibrant online community where students are learning. I think you hit on the key though– the students who are most successful have parents who are engaged and supportive. How a district or organization manages their online courses will vary widely and will determine the effectiveness of the program (just as in a bricks-and-mortar environment).

    1. This is my experience with teaching online as well. I teach at the college level and the students have to be motivated. I find it takes more energy to teach online than face-to-face because I have to put in more hours to make sure my students are getting the material. In a traditional classroom, it is easier to gauge where people are.

      In K-12 here, the students do some work at their own pace, but they have a deadline for the semester and still have to meet district standards.

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