Wednesday, December 14, 2011

OK, but my teacher seems a little remote

 The Times report by Stephanie Saul on the cyber charter school movement yesterday morning has not roused a lot of online fury. I sure don't know why. Here is how it opens:
Nearly 60 percent of its students are behind grade level in math. Nearly 50 percent trail in reading. A third do not graduate on time. And hundreds of children, from kindergartners to seniors, withdraw within months after they enroll.
By Wall Street standards, though, Agora is a remarkable success that has helped enrich K12 Inc., the publicly traded company that manages the school. And the entire enterprise is paid for by taxpayers.
You should read the whole thing, especially if you believe the way to solve our education problems is by sprinkling a little market-fairy dust on them (no, it's really just a way for the rent seekers to expropriate more money from our children).  Then have a look at Jenny Anderson on Finland:

Finland scorns almost all standardized testing before age 16 and discourages homework, and it is seen as a violation of children’s right to be children for them to start school any sooner than 7...
...teachers typically spend about four hours a day in the classroom, and are paid to spend two hours a week on professional development. At the University of Helsinki, where he teaches, 2,400 people competed last year for 120 slots in the (fully subsidized) master’s program for schoolteachers. “It’s more difficult getting into teacher education than law or medicine,” [educator Pasi Sahlberg] said.
Those kids that don't start school until 7 all get professional day care, too. And when they finally do start taking the stupid tests, they beat the US hollow, even though
“Education policies [in the US] are always written to be ‘the best’ or ‘the top this or that,’ ” he said. “We’re not like that. We want to be better than the Swedes. That’s enough for us.”

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