Saturday, February 22, 2014

New Voice in Anti-Bullying Discussion.  It's likely been around longer than I've been aware of it, but recently I've been introduced to the Minnesota Child Protection League.  The Minnesota Child Protection League is taking a very active role in opposing HF 826, the anti-bullying bill currently sitting in the Senate Finance Committee.  Here is a link to the Minnesota Child Protection League.

Minnesota Child Protection League:

An Interesting Little Nugget I Came Across in Education Week.  Online and blended learning (systems that combine traditional and online systems) are certainly playing an increasing role in K-12 education and one of the reasons for this is the perceived cost savings that accompany greater use of online curriculum.  A study released in 2012 by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, according to the article Savings Tied to Blended Programs No Sure Thing, in the January 29, 2014, issue of Education Week, concluded that more established blended learning programs tend to spend less per student, between $7,600 and $10,200, than many regular brick-and-mortar public schools, which spend about $10,000."  The Fordham study further concluded that fully virtual schools spent even less, coming in between $5,100 and $7,700 per student.

These savings are somewhat disputed by a more recent study performed by Lawrence J. Miller, a senior research fellow at the  Center for Reinventing Public Education.  Miller looked at 10 blended charter school programs that employ blended learning programs.  He found that the per pupil expenditures between the charter schools with blended learning programs and the brick-and-mortar schools, but that down the road, these charter schools may be able to make their dollars go further by investing in additional staff to improve the student-to-adult ratio in their programs.

District size is also a factor in determining whether or not blended learning models can save districts considerable revenue.  A study by Anthony Kim, the chief executive officer for Education Elements, points out that larger districts are able to redirect funds within their budgets to accommodate blended learning environments without adding costs, while that dynamic is more difficult to attain in smaller districts.

I didn't put this out there to poo-poo the idea that greater access to fully online and blended education systems is a silver bullet that will solve all of education's problems.  I don't think even the strongest proponents of online education believe that.  It's just important to remember that changing the system to incorporate new learning methods isn't something that every district can do seamlessly, nor will it come without a need for considerable hardware and software investment.

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