Alliance for Excellent Education brief advocates for changes in education
LANSING – According to an IssueBrief published by the Alliance for Excellent Education, K-12 education is dealing with three major crises nationwide, and the time to “change crisis to opportunity” is at hand.
The Online Learning Imperative: A Solution to Three Looming Crises in Education, authored by Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, and Robert Rothman, senior fellow at the Alliance, says that the U.S. education system is facing three major crises: global skill demands vs. educational attainment; a funding shortfall; and a future teacher shortage.
At the forefront of the proposed solutions is online learning. The IssueBrief argues that it’s time for online learning to no longer be “thought of simply as an add-on tool in education, but rather an integral part of the total educational environment.”
Jamey Fitzpatrick, president of Michigan Virtual says that, in Michigan, “fortunately, online learning is no longer viewed as an experimental way to deliver educational services to K-12 students. Michigan Virtual has provided 70,000 online course enrollments to middle and high school students in Michigan since 2000.”
The IssueBrief’s authors say that technology has transformed American life in every other facet of society, but schools have been “slow to embrace the transformative power of technology.” Young people are avid users of technology in all its forms but when they enter the classroom they may find computers but they are “used more like electronic textbooks” instead of for the “active application of online learning, the use of the Internet for research and original-source documents, real-time chats with experts, social networking with peers around the globe, simulations, and much more — offer innumerable possibilities.”
Fitzpatrick says that through Michigan Virtual students can take a wide variety of online courses throughout the school year and in the summer. And online learning will continue to expand in the state.
“During the next five years the use of online learning will continue to grow dramatically for all Michigan school districts, regardless of their size or location,” Fitzpatrick said. “We can attribute this projected growth to three significant factors: (1) what we know today about student learning; (2) the instructional value of online learning environments; and (3) the ongoing school funding crisis. These important factors will cause school administrators to transform their delivery models in new and innovative ways.”
The Alliance IssueBrief states the case for online learning similarly: “The time for merely rethinking and upgrading the role of technology in education has passed; policy decisions today must embrace a dramatic transformation of teaching and learning.”
About the Alliance for Excellent Education
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a national policy and advocacy organization, based in Washington, DC, working to improve national and federal policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century. Visit the Alliance website at www.all4ed.org.