Educate Me, Part II: The High Cost of Privatizing Public Education

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The Ford government (and other right-wing idealogues) want to push kids into online classrooms so that they can hack away at education funding, especially for teachers.

Commenting on online programs becomes a little awkward for me because I know there’s a time and a place for it. In facft, I’ve done numerous online courses successfully over the last decade or so and I also predict that Massive Online Organized Classrooms (MOOCs) will dominate the landscape within a few years.

But that’s more relevant to post-secondary education, isn’t it?

Our kids need attention, not more screen time.

But as the Conservative pundits push forward with this agenda, it’s important that we all come to grips with who the beneficiaries are: the private companies that organize the online classrooms.

Just like book publishing was a massive shift of public spending towards massive private companies instead our classrooms, so too will online learning result in a shift away from the public good and into the hands of a select few.

This article explores the impact of private education (or charter schools) pretending it’s public and identifies the pitfalls in trusting this exchange.

Despite flying somewhat under the mainstream radar, online charter schools have faced a wave of both negative press and poor results in research studies. One large-scale study from 2015 found that the “academic benefits from online charter schools are currently the exception rather than the rule.” By June of 2016, even a group that supports, runs, and owns charter schools published a report calling for more stringent oversight and regulation of online charter schools, saying, “The well-documented, disturbingly low performance by too many full-time virtual charter public schools should serve as a call to action for state leaders and authorizers across the country.”

….

Between 2011 and 2014, 100 percent of the children enrolled in Philadelphia-area cyber schools who took state achievement tests failed.

….

The companies who run online and virtual schools are also consistently accused of financial impropriety

The quote that really stuck with me:

Targeting the most economically vulnerable students ultimately yields cyber education businesses increased profits resulting from the segrenomics of apartheid schools. The undereducation of the poor and people of color is a business opportunity that generates great profit for businesses but provides little in the way of quality instruction.

Who the fuck thinks this way? Hands-in-the-public-till-money-grabbing 1%ers, that’s who. We have to stop in Ontario before it’s too late and we wind up with the same idiocracy that’s being built in America.

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