Jay Mathews of The Washington Post discusses the unfortunate case of a Michigan middle school that replaced teachers with online instruction to disastrous results and puts this episode in the context of a persistent trend to economize education.
Video: Saving Schools – Revolutionizing Learning through Virtual Education
"For all the innovations in education reform, the American school system has not changed much in over a century. The system hasn’t equipped American students to keep pace with a changing society and global economy. Many children graduate from high school unprepared to enter college or the workplace, academic achievement has languished, and graduation rates have been stagnant for decades. Are we stuck in this mold forever? Paul Peterson says 'no,' and he points to the power of virtual education to break American education out of its historical doldrums.
In Saving Schools: From Horace Mann to Virtual Learning, Paul Peterson traces the story of the rise, decline, and potential resurrection of American public schools through the lives and ideas of six mission-driven reformers: Horace Mann, John Dewey, Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Shanker, William Bennett, and James Coleman. Many of these reformers sought to customize education to the needs of each child. But in ways that were never anticipated, reform efforts centralized power in the hands of those who controlled institutions remote from the concerns of families and local communities – large school districts, states, courts, collective bargaining agreements, and, eventually, the federal government. Virtual education, on the other hand, can reverse that trend and invigorate learning in America in unprecedented ways."
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