Lewis M. Andrews: The Hidden Revolution in Online Learning - WSJ.com
: " . . . The development of cost-effective instructional technology, combined with the growing pressure on states and localities to cap the cost of teacher benefits and pensions, has already begun to change the incentive structure of K-12 education. In 2011, Utah's legislature passed a digital-learning policy that ties funding for Internet courses in public school to student outcomes. Online providers receive half the per-pupil payment for a course up front and the other half only after the student has mastered the material. In November, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder unveiled an education-reform plan that would allow high-school students to get credit for online courses from multiple sources, including neighboring districts, online academies, community colleges and state universities. Udacity, one of the three largest providers of online college courses, picks its instructors not on the basis of their degrees or research interests but according to how well they actually communicate."We reject 98 percent of faculty who want to teach with us," Udacity co-founder David Stavens recently told the New York Times. He sees a day when faculty are selected and promoted very differently, with the best "compensated like a TV actor or movie actor." As performance-based incentive structures spread, course designers and school-based curriculum directors will have to be more flexible, competitive and accountable. If history is any guide, the elevation of such workplace values will even make their way into the subjects being taught, emphasizing such conservative values as personal responsibility and entrepreneurship."
The reckoning for Chicago Public Schools - chicagotribune.com
: "Chicago Public Schools officials won a four-month reprieve from state lawmakers recently so they won't have to produce a list of proposed school closings until March 31. That brings to mind boxer Joe Louis' famous taunt aimed at challenger Billy Conn: He can run, but he can't hide. The day of reckoning for CPS is approaching. As many as 80 to 120 half-empty schools could be slated for closing. CPS has never shut that many schools in a single year. Not even close. All reasons why CPS has to level with parents, students and taxpayers. CPS begged the Legislature to push back a Dec. 1 deadline to release a school closing list, saying it didn't have such a list and needed to hear from parents. The Tribune report this week that CPS in September prepared a detailed plan — targeting 95 schools to be closed or consolidated, eight to be turned around and 17 to face eventual closing — gives new reason to question the credibility of school officials."
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