MIAMI — On the first day of her senior year at North Miami Beach Senior High School, Naomi Baptiste expected to be greeted by a teacher when she walked into her precalculus class.
“All there were were computers in the class,” said Naomi, who walked into a room of confused students. “We found out that over the summer they signed us up for these courses.”
Naomi is one of over 7,000 students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools enrolled in a program in which core subjects are taken using computers in a classroom with no teacher. A “facilitator” is in the room to make sure students progress. That person also deals with any technical problems.
These virtual classrooms, called e-learning labs, were put in place last August as a result of Florida’s Class Size Reduction Amendment, passed in 2002. The amendment limits the number of students allowed in classrooms, but not in virtual labs.
While most schools held an orientation about the program, some students and parents said they were not informed of the new class structure. Others said they were not given the option to choose whether they wanted this type of instruction, and they voiced concern over the program’s effectiveness.
The online courses are provided by Florida Virtual School, which has been an option in the state’s public schools. The virtual school has provided online classes for home-schooled and traditional students who want to take extra courses. Students log on to a Web site to gain access to lessons, which consist mostly of text with some graphics, and they can call, e-mail or text online instructors for help.
No teacher salaries.
No teacher benefits.
No teacher pensions.
Just a minimum wage computer "facilitator" in the room.
You don't need a school - just an "education center."
And best of all, it's all done on Microsoft products!
Can you imagine the kind of children this kind of system will churn out?
Well, we may not have to wonder for long.
Because this is EXACTLY what we're going to get in urban school districts.
Indeed, this is what Joel Klein wanted to bring about as chancellor and will now help bring about running the for-profit K-12 online education division at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
This is what excites him!
And Gates too!
And of course it does - it's cheap, it's dehumanized, it's easily controlled and they can make a lot of money off of it.
So what if it's evil?