Should every Georgia high school student take an online course? Why?

computer (Medium)Update: This afternoon the House Education Committee passed the online learning bill with the mandate removed.

Now, the bill urges school systems to maximize digital learning rather than mandating that students take at least one online course to graduate.

In presenting his bill, state Sen. Chip Rogers said the legislation was needed to prepare students to work digitally and ready them for  “a future outside the classroom. Society is moving in that direction at a rapid rate.”

A second reason to push systems to embrace greater online learning, said Rogers, is that students won’t know if they learn better digitally if they lack the option.

Now, this was the original post this morning:

Senate Bill 289 sponsored by state Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, would mandate that all Georgia high school students complete at least one online course starting in 2014.

The problem with the bill is that there’s no reliable body of research documenting the effectiveness of online learning in k-12.  This bill seems premature given that lack of evidence.

The bill states: Beginning with students entering ninth grade in the 2014-2015 school year, each student shall complete prior to graduation at least one course containing online learning. This requirement shall be met through an online course offered by the Georgia Virtual School established pursuant to Code Section 20-2-319.1, through an online dual enrollment course offered by a postsecondary institution, or through a provider approved pursuant to subsection (c) of Code Section 20-2-319.3.

The bill will be discussed today at 1 p.m. at the House Education Sub-Committee on Academic Support in Room 506 in the CLOB.

In its own meta analysis of all the research on the issue, the U. S. Department of Education warned that there was a “small number of rigorous published studies contrasting online and face-to-face learning conditions for k–12 students. In light of this small corpus, caution is required in generalizing to the k–12 population because the results are derived for the most part from studies in other settings (e.g., medical training, higher education).”

More promising than online learning is blended instruction, which combines traditional face-to-face classroom teaching with some computer-based activities. Many schools in Georgia are already doing this.

The U.S. DOE concluded:

In recent experimental and quasi-experimental studies contrasting blends of online and face-to-face instruction with conventional face-to-face classes, blended instruction has been more effective, providing a rationale for the effort required to design and implement blended approaches. When used by itself, online learning appears to be as effective as conventional classroom instruction, but not more so.

However, several caveats are in order: Despite what appears to be strong support for blended learning applications, the studies in this meta-analysis do not demonstrate that online learning is superior as a medium. In many of the studies showing an advantage for blended learning, the online and classroom conditions differed in terms of time spent, curriculum and pedagogy. It was the combination of elements in the treatment conditions (which was likely to have included additional learning time and materials as well as additional opportunities for collaboration) that produced the observed learning advantages. At the same time, one should note that online learning is much more conducive to the expansion of learning time than is face-to-face instruction.

Finally, the great majority of estimated effect sizes in the meta-analysis are for undergraduate and older students, not elementary or secondary learners. Although this meta-analysis did not find a significant effect by learner type, when learners’ age groups are considered separately, the mean effect size is significantly positive for undergraduate and other older learners but not for K–12 students. Without new random assignment or controlled quasi-experimental studies of the effects of online learning options for K–12 students, policy-makers will lack scientific evidence of the effectiveness of these emerging alternatives to face-to-face instruction.

I often ask education experts about virtual/distance learning in the k-12 arena and routinely hear the same answer: We don’t know enough yet. In a conference call last week on improving high school rigor, I asked Patte Barth, director of the Center for Public Education, whether it makes sense to mandate online courses as a condition of high school graduation.

“I have been looking into it and one big finding is that we don’t really have a lot data on the effectiveness,” she said. “The ability to work online is a 21st century skill, so I think there is an argument for making online courses a condition of graduation. But we are also dealing with adolescents who are learning how to work independently. It is something they are only developing. When you send kids out to the cyber sea without a lifeguard, I am a little skeptical of what kind of results  you can expect. There are some models for what they call blended learning.  To me, that seems to make sense.”

The issue also came up during Education Week’s recent Quality Counts panel. Asked about the role of computer learning, Emiliana Vegas, a senior economist in the education research hub of the World Bank, said World Bank had been evaluating the evidence on computer learning.

“It is very thin and mixed,” Vegas said. “Our conclusion is that it is inevitable that schools will use more computer-learning and they probably should because the world is changing in that direction. It is another tool that teachers have at their disposal. But it is not a substitute. It is not solution in itself.”

The research shows high failure and dropout rates in distance learning. Here is an excerpt from a study by University of Tennessee researchers M.D. Roblyer and Lloyd Davis:

Despite anticipated and real benefits of virtual schooling, it is not unusual for virtual schools to report a dropout rate of from 40-70% (Oblender, 2002; State of Colorado, 2006), though some established schools claim a dropout rate from 10-20%. In the case of one program, it was found that virtual students were forced to repeat grades at a rate four times that of students statewide (Rouse, 2005). Some virtual school programs have addressed high dropout and failure rates through front-end means such selecting and admitting students on the basis of identified criteria, instituting required pre-course orientations, and increasing the length of the drop-add period to 28 or more days. Some schools have also increased levels of students monitoring and facilitation. Virtual schools report no data on the success of the latter strategies, but informal reports indicated they have met with at least some success (Pape, Revenaugh, Watson, & Wicks, 2006).

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

129 comments Add your comment


March 14th, 2012
4:18 am

@Maureen, Is there any way to get official data on how many Georgia students are currently using the Georgia Virtual School program and the budget for the program? I’d also love to see how the current program accommodates for students with special needs.

I’m wondering if this is some attempt to increase usage of the program or to justify the expense?

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March 14th, 2012
5:44 am

This is an absolutely horrible idea. While there are certainly some advantages of online instruction if certain courses can’t be offered in a traditional format by a school system (i.e. physics), requiring all students to take an online course is utterly ridiculous. The next thing you’ll hear is that Chip Rogers has an online charter school business in the works.

God Bless the Teacher!

March 14th, 2012
6:00 am

Let’s see…require online course…more computers needed…buy more PCs…PCs run on Windows…Bill Gates makes more money. Enough said.

God Bless the Teacher!

March 14th, 2012
6:05 am

Part two…require online course…design courses based on Khan Academy offerings…Khan Academy has BIG backing by Bill Gates…OOPS! There he is again.

Kahn Academy is actually a wonderful resource for students. However, I’m not yet sold on it becoming a replacement content delivery system as is being piloted in California.

God Bless the Teacher!

March 14th, 2012
6:12 am

Seriously. Online courses are a great option for students who posses the intrinsic motivation to complete such courses, particularly if a course being taken is not readily available at a student’s school. Since many colleges offer online or blended (online and face time) courses as part of a student’s major’s curriculum, it makes sense that college bound students (I’m also including technical school bound students here) take such a course in a safe and supportive learning environment such as high school to get a feel for what such a course will be like in the future. However, the legislation will result in local districts being required to provide space, computers, computer lab facilitators, and other funding for such a requirement to be met. How will that be possible if cuts continue to be made to education budgets? Nothing like another unfunded mandate.


March 14th, 2012
6:13 am

Ditto Brandy’s questions, and also, is there any information about “success rates” for GVS, both in grades and EOCT scores?

I’d particularly like to see a comparison of grades and EOCT scores. In the local Ombudsman program, which is all online, students frequently make A’s and B’s in the coursework while scoring in the 50s on their EOCTs (and remember that EOCTs are heavily curved!) The kids say you just re-answer and re-answer the questions until you get the correct answer, no actual learning required.


March 14th, 2012
6:17 am

Although this is only anecdotal evidence, with very few exceptions my students (college) describe the online courses they have taken at the school where I teach as either a “joke” or “totally worthless.” We ofter courses that are fully online as well as what we call hybrids, which meet one day a week face-to-face and then the remainder of the instruction and learning is online. These courses are pushed by claiming that this is the only way some students “can gain access” to a college education. What I have noticed, however, is that many students who are weak in a particular subject area (foreign language students, for example, who must take a number of English courses in their first and second years of college) take those courses online. I am suspicious, to say the least, especially when some of them end up in one of my face-to-face classes and can’t compose a grammatical sentence, or at least not one in English. It is difficult to know who is actually doing the work in an online setting.

yes i am worried

March 14th, 2012
6:31 am

Could someone please tell me why Woodstock continues to elect Chip Rogers? Any chance of a viable opponent?

There are places in GA where there is such poverty there are very few computers in homes and hardly in the school. There is no incentive for internet companies to provide much more then basic service.

Chip Rogers just meddles. And meddles. And meddles. It is a shame for the children of GA.


March 14th, 2012
6:39 am

Hmmm…. Normally Chip Rogers is all about parent choice and “innovative” charter schools that provide individual instruction, and now he wants to force virtual learning on every student, regardless of how the student learns best or if it is what parents choose? I suspect campaign donations from tech companies and/or for-profit virtual schools are in the mix here somewhere. And as all students do not have access to technology at home, the schools will likely have to offer the computers and the bandwidth. How much money does the state give school districts for technology? Oh, that’s right- zero.

Two Cents

March 14th, 2012
6:54 am

Who has to pay for this? Most parents have no extra money and are struggling to survive.


March 14th, 2012
6:58 am

It’s all about money and the future of education. For the past year or so, I have been told the following by more than one person involved in curriculum and instruction:

“The high school of the future will fit into a single room filled with computers. Students will come and go as they take online classes. High School as you know it is a thing of the past and the future is much smaller buildings, more technology, and streamlined instruction. It will save the states billions while preparing students for the 21st century.”

IMHO, that is a scary scenario and exactly what came to my mind when I first read SB 289.

We have several students who use GA Virtual. A few really enjoy the courses but most of them eventually dislike the online instruction. They miss the face-to-face interaction that take place in a class. Human interaction is actually a powerful learning tool. How many people enjoy working in a cubicle with only a computer? Relatively few.


March 14th, 2012
7:02 am

Who does Chip know that would profit financially by this?

Outrageous and Ridiculous

March 14th, 2012
7:08 am

This is an outrageous and ridiculous notion to make students take one course online. Today’s students are struggling to learn in our 48 out of 50 bottom of the barrel schools and now we want to force them to learn on their own? Online learning is for adults who work and can’t otherwise attend school full time.
All human beings learn best from a human being and doing hands on work. Online learning removes the human being. I’ve taken online courses and they are inferior. We need to teach children to use computers in high school so they can learn to research items but if we put a kid in front of a computer for an “online” class the work won’t get done and learning won’t happen.

This notion is merely meant to reduce costs of education by reducing the number of human teachers needed to teach. We should reduce expense by reducing the overhead in the central office — just another reason to open more charter schools.


March 14th, 2012
7:22 am

Since when has lack of data stopped our legislature? Georgia education functions on a “whim and a prayer.”


March 14th, 2012
7:24 am

Please don’t let this pass! Online learning is right for some students. Not all. And if there is cheating in a regular classroom, online classes will make it easier to cheat. Not sure what he is trying to achieve. It could probably be accomplished with the “blended learning.”

teacher for life

March 14th, 2012
7:25 am

The republicans have run out of ideas on how to improve Georgia. The economy, schools, infrastructure, and transportation have all suffered in the years since the repubs took control.


March 14th, 2012
7:27 am

An earlier post I submitted must be stuck in the filter.

The anecdotal evidence I have received from my students is that online courses are often a “joke” or “totally worthless.” To be sure, they have negative things to say about face-to-face courses, although their complaints typically concern how much work the professor made them do, how difficult the exams were, and how boring they found the lectures.


March 14th, 2012
7:28 am

While I’m glad that online education is an option for some students, I question mandating it at this time as a requirement for graduatuation. More information is needed (research value, costs, access, etc.) before mandating this through law.

Mary Elizabeth

March 14th, 2012
7:29 am

@catlady, 7:02

Whenever Sen. Chip Rogers sponsors educational legislation (or influences someone else who does), the public should check out ALEC’s website. Sen. Rogers sits on the National Board of ALEC, as well as being one of Georgia’s state representatives to ALEC (along with Rep. Calvin Hill).

I did just that. This is what I found:


“Education in this country is big business. By 2015, revenues for the online learning industry are expected to grow to $24.4 billion. That is why online for-profit schools are looking for ways tomake it easier to pay for their education. This legislation would do that by creating educational accounts for employees and employers. The for-profit education industry would stand to benefitfrom this legislation because it is designed to help them attract more customers. In fact, an onlinefor-profit school company was the corporate co-chair of ALEC’s Education Task Force in 2011.”(page 22 from the below link.)

And from the first page of the above link, page 22, read below:


“Led by some of the largest corporations in America, ALEC has quietly brought together legislators and corporate lobbyists to draft legislation behind closed doors. Much of thislegislation is designed to benefit directly the bottom lines of corporations that are members of ALEC—corporations like Coca-Cola, Koch Industries, United States Smokeless TobaccoCompany and Comcast.ALEC exists specifically so that lobbyists and corporations can influence state legislative policies away from public view. At its meetings, held in some of the most exclusive resorts and hotels to ensure secrecy, corporate lobbyists share their wish lists of legislative proposals to be introduced at state capitols around the country. Legislators take this cookie-cutter legislation,make some changes to it, then introduce it in their own states, often without understanding thefull impact of what they are proposing. With help from corporate political contributions,lobbyists then help move the legislation forward.We all like to think that our state laws are created when a constituent raises an issue with alegislator, who then drafts legislation to fix that problem. Increasingly however, that’s not the case and corporate lobbyists, not our legislators, are drafting Minnesota’s laws.”


AGAIN A NOTE TO THE AJC INVESTIGATIVE STAFF: When are you going to do an investigative report on ALEC and how it is heavily influencing Georgia’s educational legislation, i.e. Charter Schools, School Vouchers, On-line Courses Mandated, School Choice Week.

Traditional public schools are in danger of being dismantled. Now is the time for serious investigation.
Where is the investigative press?


“This is fundamentally about fighting for democracy in the schools.”
(From my 4:43 pm post on yesterday’s thread. Reference source given there.)

Mary Elizabeth

March 14th, 2012
7:39 am


Incorrectly stated: “And from the first page of the above link, page 22, read below:”

Corrected: “And from the above link, page 2, read below.”

My apologies.


March 14th, 2012
7:46 am

@Mary Elizabeth
Excellent question regarding the investigative journalists at the AJC looking into all of this. Unfortunately, the AJC seems to have very lazy investigators. If the story doesn’t have something to do with test cheats or inappropriate contact between teachers and students, the “investigators” at the AJC seemingly want little to do with it.


March 14th, 2012
7:59 am

Perhaps Mr. Rogers might consider getting back to basics. It would appear that top heavy tech parents aren’t interested in such nonsense for their children’s education.

Mary Elizabeth

March 14th, 2012
8:11 am

MikeyD, 7:46

It may be that ALEC is simply too politicially volatile to take on uncovering it. Better to leave it uncovered? I hope that is not the thinking at the AJC. It certainly wasn’t the thinking of the Washinton Post under Katharine Graham in the 1970s.

One of ALEC’s top fund supporters, if not its top one, is Koch Industries. The Koch Brothers have been stealthily fighting for their Libertarian worldview in America for decades, which would minimize governing for the “common good” through the public sector toward governing through the corporate agenda of the private sector. This issue is one that has the potential of dismantling public education for our youth. And it has the potential for undermining the very foundation of our democracy, as built through public education, as envisioned by Thomas Jefferson. This public/private issue and the influence of ALEC’s agenda, as it is played out in Georgia’s Legislature, needs investigative reporting, desperately. And I do not use that adverb lightly.

world we live in, in cobb

March 14th, 2012
8:22 am

@catlady – that’s the first thing that popped into my mind– How much money will Rogers make off of the passage of this legislation??????
As the mom of a student who this would effect – NO!!! My child does very well with the traditonal form of learning in a classroom and is in no need of an online course. If others need or want to participate – fine – but don’t legislate that my child HAS to participate BY LAW!! STUPID!!!!!!


March 14th, 2012
8:25 am

We live in GA, a Republican-dominated state. Yet, mandates, unfunded mandates, keep coming from state government.


March 14th, 2012
8:34 am

I just checked Chip Rogers’ website to see what his bona fides are in education. It appears that “Friend of Education” in Cobb County is the highlight.

Does he in fact have training or experience in education policy? He is not on the education committee, nor does he appear to have a relevant degree.

Given his apparent lack of applicable expertise, it is hard to imagine that his interference in education policy is anything other than paid meddling on behalf of ALEC.


March 14th, 2012
8:48 am

OK. Y’all need to know that Chip Rogers’ brother, Joh Rogers, works at the Department of Education. Was a deal struck with John Barge to get him there? BTW, no one seems to know what JR does other than occupy an office and draw a check. Chip Rogers needs to get an education degree or stop trying to micromanage education in Georgia. What a hypocrite!

Miss Management

March 14th, 2012
8:49 am

I believe this is yet another way to disenfranchise poor minority students. Learning is learning. It should not matter HOW you access information, just that you do – and that you understand it. So many students do not have access to computers or the internet. Insisting that they take courses that way is unfair.


March 14th, 2012
8:54 am

Oh, stupid me! Chip Rogers just wants to keep his name out there for future political gains. I finally get it – name recognition! Are Georgians so stupid that they don’t get it?


March 14th, 2012
8:55 am

Follow the money! This bill is simply another chapter in the book about how to rewrite education policy so that the profit-based corporations can take over public education. If you examine on-line learning from a national perspective, you will see a couple of really big, for-profit companies dominate the field. If you dig further, you will find there are many kids who enroll in a course of study through the on-line program. The company collects their check for services to that student. Then the student drops out of the course(s) before completion. This occurs at an extremely high rate – much higher than drop-out rates in traditional schools. BUT the company still gets paid for the services they provided for that student. In addition, this method of operation does, in fact, take money away from the local schools through the FTE processes. This is definitely a program that is viewed as a cash cow!


March 14th, 2012
8:55 am

I should add that I am not opposed to the use of on-line learning, but it should remain an option and not become a requirement.

Yankee Prof

March 14th, 2012
8:59 am

There is some merit in exposing high school students to online learning before they enter college, though simply legislating it as a requirement is probably shortsighted at the present.

I can say, as a college educator, I see significant challenges with online learning, including both statistically higher academic dishonesty issues and, oddly enough, higher attrition issues. Of the latter, online skills courses like English Composition at my institution have double the withdrawal/failure rate as do on-site courses. Much of the reason behind those numbers, I suspect, is a lack of academic preparation and self-motivation necessary to succeed in an online course. Yet, when one surveys student attitudes, they oftentimes believe that an online course will be easier than its on-site version.

So, again, some early exposure is a good idea since opportunities for online learning will certainly increase at the post-secondary level.

First Cheating Lying Teacher might be fired today

March 14th, 2012
9:05 am

Here’s the story from the AJC. The teacher used a razor blade to cut into the test booklets and make copies for other teachers: “He is the first teacher named in a groundbreaking special investigation into test cheating, and today Damany Lewis could become the first Atlanta teacher to be fired for his role in the scandal.

Enlarge photo Vino Wong…… Teachers accused of cheating will go will go before a tribunal. Here, attorney Theodore Frankel, who represents three teachers, is shown on Feb. 23.

.Lewis, a Parks Middle teacher, is the first of several educators scheduled to go before a tribunal to contest his termination. He admitted to cheating four years in a row and confessed to state investigators that he used a razor blade to cut into test booklets and make copies for other teachers.

Today’s hearing will be Lewis’ chance to tell his side of the story. But he’ll be up against a school system armed with state evidence and eager to rehabilitate its reputation by getting guilty teachers off the payroll.

Atlanta Public Schools is paying $1 million a month to educators accused of cheating who are on administrative leave. Superintendent Erroll Davis made a promise that those who cheated would not be allowed in front of children again. But keeping that promise has proved to be a challenge — educators have job protection rights, which means firing them is a long and costly process.

Almost nine months after the 400-plus page investigative report was released, none of the approximately 180 educators accused of cheating has been fired. About 70 have resigned or retired at the urging of the district.

Bo Spalding, co-founder of the public relations firm Jackson Spalding and an expert in crisis management, said these hearings will be APS’ chance to make a statement — to the public and other employees — about the lack of tolerance for cheating.

“What these school officials are doing is very important to how the school system is going to be perceived,” he said. “People want to see justice being done. People want to know the Atlanta school system is doing the right and responsible thing, and that’s holding people accountable.”

Most of the accused educators have refused to speak out publicly. Lewis did not return calls for comment. But teacher groups and attorneys advocating for some of the educators named in the report, say they are concerned the educators will not get a fair hearing.

“These teachers may be sacrificed so the district can protect its image,” said Verdaillia Turner, president of the Atlanta Federation of Teachers, which is providing legal assistance to members named in the investigation.

The teachers will go before a tribunal “jury” pulled from a pool of around 30 people approved and paid for by the APS school board. Most are retired educators with experience in APS or neighboring school systems. An impartial hearing officer will serve in a “judge” role.

Hearings can last for a couple of days. Attorneys for APS will outline the grounds for firing, present evidence and call witnesses to testify. The accused will be given a chance to dispute the allegations. The tribunal has five days to make a ruling, which is then upheld or rejected by the school board.

A teacher can appeal a local school board’s decision to the state school board, then to Superior Court, the Court of Appeals and up to the state Supreme Court. So far, the district has taken formal steps to fire 11 educators; three have chosen to resign rather than go through with hearings, which are scheduled through March 30.

Turner said attorneys for some teachers have not been given access by APS to records, tapes and witnesses needed to mount a solid defense. They also have concerns about how impartial the jury will be, especially given the attention the case has received.

“The court of public opinion has been turned against these teachers,” she said. “The public has no idea of the full story or the environment in these schools.”
We are paying these lying and thieving teachers A MILLION DOLLARS a MONTH on the school payroll — every honest teacher should be outraged at these lying thieves. IF we had a million a month we could give raises to teachers who deserve them.

Rick in Grayson

March 14th, 2012
9:17 am

For many students (especially those with attention-deficit problems), online courses are the way to go. I have been using Khan’s Academy to brush up on some old skills and learn some new skills for the pusuit of a Master’s in Statistics degree.

Khan’s has 5 to 15 minutes videos that can be re-watched if needed. Each video has a collection of user comments that are of help for people who did not understand everything.
Students are sometimes “tired” for whatever reason and online courses allow them to watch when they are most attentive.

These videos are there to re-watch 5 years from now! Something that your local HS can not provide.

I would like to see a HS where everything is online and teachers are available by phone/video-conferencing to help with any individual roadblocks as they happen.

Ron F.

March 14th, 2012
9:18 am

I work with a group of seniors using online courses and credit recovery programs to catch up missing credits. Very few are able to work entirely on their own. They all need guidance or specific help during the week. For highly motivated, successful students, online courses could be used to accelerate their graduation, and that should be offered. However, that’s typically a small percentage of students, most of whom are already taking AP, IB, Honors courses. For most kids, one course could be managed, but academic courses would require at least some teacher interaction. I don’t support this as a requirement for graduation but I think it would be good to offer for those who can and want to take the courses to either catch up or earn credits toward graduation faster, or those who want to do dual enrollment with colleges.

Rick in Grayson

March 14th, 2012
9:24 am

For those wanting online “math” education, Khan’s Academy and the online GeoGebra tool can be used to provide math/statistics/chemistry/physics/finance education.

Check out Khan’s Academy and GeoGebra(pre-algebra through calculus tools)!

Ron F.

March 14th, 2012
9:27 am

“We are paying these lying and thieving teachers A MILLION DOLLARS a MONTH on the school payroll — every honest teacher should be outraged at these lying thieves.”

GM- so much for innocent until proven guilty I guess. What you have to understand is that some of the accused may not have cheated, and since they could face potential criminal charges, they should fight. I agree that those who admitted to it should have been fired post haste. The right to a fair dismissal hearing, while unpleasant sounding, is the only way the potentially innocent have to keep themselves from being fired and/or prosecuted without clear evidence. Trust me, the system picks the panel and has quite an advantage in determining what is “fair.” Considering the politics and passing of blame I’m sure is part of this, I think it would be smart to make the system prove the charges. If these teachers take the fall, what will prevent those higher up who, at the very least, overlooked the cheating from keeping their high-paying jobs and doing worse in the future? I guarantee you the ones really behind this didn’t leave a trail, and each of their salaries is likely twice as much as any teacher, if not more.

Rural Eduation

March 14th, 2012
9:35 am

On-line courses are just another way to eliminate teachers and rid this state of public education. That is the goal of Chip and the others who make the decisions but have no children in the public education system. They get away with it because Ga. is a one party state and many are too lazy to make thier own choices. When you have clowns like Boortz spending all day talking about the “socialist” govt. schools, truth stand little chance of seeing the light of day.


March 14th, 2012
9:37 am

The legislature needs to stay out of micromanagement of the schools. Really? Every student? This has got to be financially motivated.

My son took AP Comp Sci through GA Virtual School last semester. This is a subject he is extremely interested in, he was very motivated, and he made an A. BUT he said he hated the online experience and did not want to do it again. If he said that about a course he loved, I can’t imagine that the experience would be successful for 100% of students. This bill needs to DIE.

Mary Elizabeth

March 14th, 2012
9:41 am

From Rural Education, 9:35 am

“. . .truth stand little chance of seeing the light of day.”


We try.


March 14th, 2012
9:42 am

Apparently, our legislator-in-question is completely out of touch with reality in regards to many students in the lower socio-economic brackets. He doesn’t comprehend the fact that many of them either don’t have a computer at home or don’t have internet access on a computer or both. For those who argue that these students can go to the local public library, you need to remember all of the cuts in resources and hours of operations sustained by our libraries in effort to balance budgets. And, if the students are going to take the class in the school computer lab or library, why have this absurd requirement in the first place?!

As someone who has tutored a student through online credit recovery math classes and who as a non-classroom teacher has actually seen some of the online class offerings, I am not impressed by those classes. The explanations can be kind of sketchy. There is no opportunity for interaction with a teacher. And I found some errors in the instruction. That there would be errors in an online instruction course is simply pathetic.


March 14th, 2012
10:05 am

The idea of giving GA students experience with online learning is a sound one. Perhaps the bill isn’t clear to some, but almost all post-secondary institutions are offering online courses, and Georgia students need the experience so that navigating an online class is not a steep learning curve! In high school, online learning can take many forms! Blending face-to-face learning with the online component is an excellent choice and potentially one of the most exciting uses of technology on the current scene. Georgia Virtual School, a state program offering college prep classes to all students in Georgia is also piloting blended learning right now. Let’s embrace the future and work together to make it a leg-up for Georgia students!


March 14th, 2012
10:06 am

Well said comment to GM, Ron F. It seems some people want to throw out the Constitution when all we have now are allegations. Let’s allow due process to move forward and handle each situation based on the evidence and merits.

Really amazed

March 14th, 2012
10:16 am

I have thought for a longgggg time now about this. I get exactly what the gov’t is trying to do, not that I agree with it though. Think about it, giving every child in the school district a personal computer, going to school one a week for face to face instruction, rest of the time @home doing cyber school. Since the gov’t claims to pay approx. $8,000 to $9,000 currently to educate each student, paying $500 to $1000 for a computer for every student would be a drastic cut. Then they would only have to pay an instructor for one to two days a week face-to-face time. I believe this is the way of the future. This is just about what every company does for continue ed etc. I also believe this is the only way to cut the cost of college tuition in the very near future. This is also the way some of the homeschool programs operate. Everyone is always complaining about the public school system. I think it is about to be completely overhauled and not necessarily for the better. I do believe something has to give though! I see this as a test for future generation education. Start with one class and another than another etc. On-line learning is what it will ALL come down to.


March 14th, 2012
10:17 am

“AGAIN A NOTE TO THE AJC INVESTIGATIVE STAFF: When are you going to do an investigative report on ALEC and how it is heavily influencing Georgia’s educational legislation, i.e. Charter Schools, School Vouchers, On-line Courses Mandated, School Choice Week.”

Great question. Any comments from the AJC staff regarding Mary Elizabeth’s question?

Maureen Downey

March 14th, 2012
10:20 am

@teacher&mom, The AJC education investigative team has been working on a yearlong project that is close to publication. I will pass these notes to the editors who head the projects reporters.

Really amazed

March 14th, 2012
10:20 am

@Rural education, you have it nailed!!


March 14th, 2012
10:24 am

@Maureen – I look forward to reading their project. Thank you for the feedback.


March 14th, 2012
10:37 am

@Maureen, you are again completely wrong on this one. We are in the age of “connectivity,” and it’s time you and your readers face the reality that the way we teach our kids has got to change, and change now. Teachers need to be given more flexibility to teach and ignite the passion in every child. Online learning has the potential to bring the best teachers and/or lectures in the world to a student’s desktop.

I strongly suggest you have your readers read my friend/colleague Seth Godin’s manifesto, “Stop Stealing Dreams.” It makes all the sense in the world.

True innovations, and I might disruptive innovations, do not usually come out of the gate with groundbreaking research that you desire. But you know what? Over time, they will do exactly that. It’s time to acknowledge that our students have to be taught like the digital natives they are, and not like the digital immigrants of the previous generations.