The Strength of Weak Ties

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Illinois' First Virtual Elementary School

Today's Chicago Tribune is reporting that Illinois will open its first virtual grade school for 600 Chicago elementary students. Called the Chicago Virtual Charter School, it will serve a range of students from gifted to those with learning disabilities. Students will receive computers and high-speed Internet access, along with, yes, you guessed it...paper-based workbooks.

Sharon Hayes, the principal, estimates that students will spend 20-40 percent of their time in front of their computers. Lessons will be created by k12 Inc. The school will offer opportunities for socialization such as field trips-they'll even have virtual "gym" classes-which should be interesting... no kick ball for these kids.

I can't imagine not sending a kindergarten age student to kindergarten, but I guess that this is the world we live in.

As expected, the Chicago Teachers Union is fighting the virtual school. The Home School Legal Defense Association is also suggesting that virtual schools are not the same as home school environments, as home schools provide more latitude in exactly what kids learn. Roadblocks seem to be everywhere...there are vested interests in keeping education the same, aren't there..?

Read about it here (requires that silly free registration)


  • At 1:32 PM , Blogger Glenn E. Malone said...

    Washington also opens it's first virtual doors in September...K12 has partnered with the Steilicoom School District (K-8) and Insight has partnered with the Quiliyute Valley School District (9-12).

    This should be interesting...Free Virtual public education..including free laptop, printer and stipend for internet connection.

    I went to parent info nights for both schools...they were well attended and impressive.

  • At 3:49 PM , Blogger Kevin said...

    Doesn't appear to need login from this link. (or can help)

    I think this is definitely a step in the right direction. I think a lot more students will have an easier time in school if they were able to set their own hours. Maybe I'm opening up a whole different can of worms, but a lot of students (and scientific studies seem to back it up) would be much happier coming to school 3 hours later in the day.

    I sure hope this thing succeeds. If it does, it will set a great precedent for future endeavours of this nature. I'll be following it closely.

  • At 7:39 PM , Blogger David said...

    Kevin: I would imagine many will be watching to see how this goes-it will provide a great deal of information about how today's students learn and can learn in new environments. The 8 period-one size fits all model of school is outdated and being seriously challenged, which is a good thing. Hope the summer is going well.

  • At 7:40 PM , Blogger David said...

    Glen: it will be interesting to see how this develops-and it is encouraging to see that you felt that it appears to being done the right way.


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