Sandra in Brevard
Late Monday, I noticed that the House ditched its version of so-called digital learning and voted on a new bill that matched the Senate version. Last week I read the 50 plus page Senate bill and called my legislator to voice my concerns. The entire Brevard delegation supported the bill. As written, the bill opens the door for outsourcing virtual charters. The requirements for teachers include a type of certification for individuals who may live outside the United States, but no Florida teacher certification requirements are needed. These virtual charters do not require a physical presence in Florida; however, all who offer services must be approved by the Florida Department of Education. This bill is also an unfunded mandate requiring school districts to provide access for those who do not have the proper equipment and Internet access. The bill was introduced by Florida Senator Anitere Flores, who is listed as a member of the digital learning committee on the education foundation established by former Governor Jeb Bush.
On another note, UCF won a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant to develop national standards for blended learning that seems will apply to higher learning. Blended learning means students attend class AND complete some coursework online. This approach has years of supportive research as the most successful application of online learning and so noted on the UCF website. More students successfully finish courses in blended learning than other formats. SB1620/HB7197 does not acknowledge the research and takes a step backward in successful application of virtual capabilities.
This blog marks #50 and coincides with the near end of the Florida legislative session. So-called education reform sped through legislatures nationwide with barely any public discussion and even less media coverage. Non-public entities with no accountability are establishing national policy on national standards, national assessment, and national curriculum. Local control has been vastly diminished. Soon the U.S. Congress will be taking up the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. Many of the issues connected with education reform will likely re-emerge. Grumpy Educators serves as a resource for Brevard County residents and others who are interested in education reform and may be helpful for those who are interested in the reauthorization when it comes up. Hopefully, the national media will take greater interest in covering these issues when they are debated in Congress.
Education reform is a complex topic and moves faster than a speeding bullet. I have attempted to break it down into small enough chunks so the entire picture could be understood. I hope it has been helpful. Now, as last year, Sandra In Brevard will take a blogging break. However, there are two separate groups who have organized to push back on the efforts to nationalize education that I am following closely.
Best regards to all readers of Grumpy Educators.
Read all of Sandra's Blogs at Grumpy Educators
I highlighted the part about the blog that mentions outsourcing.. Sandra will have to fill in a blank, but, one Charter School, not in Florida, is already using teachers from Turkey. In theory, Virtual Charter Schools will be considerably less expensive than conventional Brick and Mortar schools. A lot less expensive if the teachers live in so called developing nations... Turkey's been a developing nation since the birth of civilization.
If cost alone becomes the primary driver, Virtual Charter Schools will start to replace conventional public schools. For the Computer and software industry it creates a huge potential market, China and India will thank us. Pearson Testing, the folks that haven't been able to deliver FCAT Scores on time for two years straight has been given the green light by the Federal Government to develop the courses the government will accept. Pearson is based in the UK, the Brits will thank us too..
At a time when US Corporations are being demonized for sending jobs to other countries it bothers me to see our government writing laws that encourage the practise.
Sandra's done an amazing job here this year.. I don't know of anyone else who would have the patience to read dozens of boring newspaper articles about education every night. We all know, No One Except Sandra bothers to read the bills in front of either Congress or the State Legislatures. The elected representatives that pass them don't..
I sincerely hope she makes her break from blogging a short one. I know I'm going to miss the hell out of her research, opinions and insight. I'm still trying to find something to bribe her with, no luck so far.