Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Online Learning Background

Tonight the Board is voting on adoption of a new policy for on-line courses. At the time of introduction of this item, the Board had requested information about what was currently being done in the district. The information below is a new part of the Action Item being voted on.

At Introduction, Board members requested information on what current online learning activities are underway. We contacted the head counselors in the high schools and discovered that there is not a lot of online activity underway. Many schools reported that they formerly used the Digital Learning Commons (DLC), but ceased when the district stopped funding the program. A few schools have students doing online course through Brigham Young University. Students who do use online opportunities typically take a course for 0.5 credits/semester—the same as they would earn in an SPS class. Students appear to be taking courses all along the spectrum, including math, US history, science, CTE, health and PE.

Students also appear to be taking classes both for acceleration and for remediation. For the most part it appears that students are paying for their own courses. We have had problems in the past with students abusing online courses (having other students do their coursework, etc) so some schools are fairly restrictive in what they allow.

One principal who also responded to our survey noted that in the past the school has had a
problem with online courses not being aligned to standards, and he noted that frequently the
students are taking the courses simply for credit, not for knowledge. When the student then
moves on to the next level of course and takes it at the school, the student frequently does not do well, because he or she has not acquired the knowledge or skill set through the online course
necessary to progress to the next level.

The issues raised by the counselors and principal are all reasons why we believe we must move
deliberately towards increasing our online learning opportunities. While online opportunities can be a great benefit to students, we must ensure that the courses are being offered by an accredited institution, that the courses are aligned to state standards, and that appropriate safeguards are in place to avert abuse of the opportunity.

Over the next year we will be working with the high school counselors (and middle and
elementary, if appropriate) to identify the issues and solutions so that our students can have the appropriate online learning opportunities to enhance their education.

So many schools stopped using online learning when the district stopped paying and "it appears" that students are paying for online courses themselves. The former should be no mystery to anyone and the latter? Again, little documentation in this district of what actually happens.

It is good, though, that the Board asked for this information and district staff went out and brought it back to them.

10 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

It sounds like the District has no idea - let alone control - about what is now happening with students taking classes online.

It sounds like every school is doing whatever they think is right for them.

That's another opportunity for the superintendent to centralize authority.

seattle citizen said...

I like the opportunity online learning offers, particularly for make-up classes students need to graduate, or for electives or other classes that are not offered in their building.

But I worry about the appeal of online learning being cheap and easy way for district to offer classes, instead of the richer education offered face-to-face.

There are many applications of virtual learning that are appropriate, and many that are not.

anne said...

my son took science through WAVA (Washington Virtual Academy www.k12.com) this year. We had to go through the district legal department to get sign-off, which took some work, but once it was done the course was free for us.

I thought WAVA was available to washington state students as a homeschooling option?

dan dempsey said...

Off task .... legal ruling here.

We are voyaging further into the TwiLight zone of fixed rulings to support the system.

Note appellants that originally had standing at the time the law suit (school closures - Briggs et al.) was filed over school closures and then looked for other options for 2009-2010 and left the SPS are ruled to NOT have standing by Judge Laura Inveen. (because they are NOT in the SPS now. (????)

Also the 68,000 page administrative record that never was certified correct by anyone as required by state law is judged good enough by Inveen.

Note when Federal Dept of Ed examined documents provided by SPS in a complaint over School closures and they took about two weeks full time to look through 50,000 + pages and found about 5% actually pertained to school closure decisions.

So now Inveen decides the current 68,000 page "not certified correct transcript" is good enough.

This is absurd.... the system is incredibly fixed if this is supposed to be acceptable.

I say Judge Inveen forget it ... lets go see if the State Supreme Court is any better than Superior Court. Let us see what the appellants with legal standing decide to do(??).

Here is my testimony on this legal farce.

Rosie said...

Standing rules have been in place forever. The attorneys representing the Appellants should have seen this coming and either moved to identify different plaintiffs, who would continue to have standing, or talked their clients into rethinking their decision to act in a way that lost them standing.

As to adding documents, courts do it all the time when they involve an issue that is to be decided by a judge, as opposed to a jury. Again, presumably Appellants' counsel informed his/her clients of this likelihood, when he/she discussed the issue.

"The system is incredibly fixed?" Your side loses on a procedural issue and you say that? Come on Dan.

dan dempsey said...

The appellants still have members that have standing.

Rosie,
How can an argument be valid if no certified correct transcript as required by state law exists. To show a decision is arbitrary and capricious at the time the board made it, a correct record of evidence considered by the board at the time of the decision needs to be referenced. (But no such record exists......).

Have a child's school closed (when proper procedures are not followed), file a legal complaint and then be forced to sacrifice your child to the cause because standing will be lost if you send your child to Northshore SD while still living in north Seattle.

Is the above accountability?

Please read RCW 28A 645.020 --
In consideration of Separation of Powers ....
Decisions should be remanded back to the district when they are unable to follow the law in decision-making.

The district is unable to make decisions in the manner prescribed by law .... the SPS exclude evidence and violate proper procedures .... to show this a Certified Correct Transcript of evidence is needed.

The district has testified in interrogatories that they do not follow the law or have an interest in following it. interesting that you support your interpretation of Standing Rules but not RCW 28A 645.020

Here comes the next rally
June 16, 2010

Rosie said...

I read the statute. I don't agree with your interpretation. I didn't see the underlying briefing, but it would surprise me if someone thought they could succeed in keeping out documentation if there was an affidavit from someone that said something like "these were materials that were before the Board/District but which we failed to produce earlier." RCW 28A.645.020 does not compel the result you seek. Heck, it doesn't even suggest it as an alternative.

And in terms of the standing question, I accept your statement that there are other qualified appellants who are qualified to maintain a suit. I am also glad that the court followed long-established jurisprudence and removed those litigants whose action rendered their challenges moot. Courts are supposed to address the real issues between real litigants, not theoretical issues. They are busy enough with those. If anybody could challenge any rule, regulation, statute or governmental action just because they didn't like the result and felt that proper process wasn't followed, then we'd have to triple the size of our courts. Actual skin in the game is a check and balance against such overuse of this particular branch of govnerment

dan dempsey said...

Rosie,

I disagree that the courts would be over-burdened from this type of action. Legal fees in the Successful math appeal were $13,140 with lots of footwork done with no cost by appellents and others. The win returned no legal fees to the winners only a finding of arbitrary and capricious accompanied by an Order of Remand. {Which rather than follow, the District has appealed. So more money will be spent by appellants and friends on the Appeals court action brought by the district} I fail to see that the public will be clogging the courts with expensive legal action, as there are no financial damages awarded or even legal fees awarded to winning appellants.

The district has essentially carte blanche to violate the State Constitution article IX as there are no enforcement provisions.

It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.


Thanks for the conversation.

Dan

MoneyPenny said...

Dan, your logic is off. When a court rules against you, they must be flauting the law and therefor you have to appeal it, but when a court rules against the district they are acting in bad faith to appeal? There is no sense in that. The arguement can be made using your logic that you and your friends are the ones clogging the courts with expensive legal actions that are without meritt.

online courses said...

Online learning is a big assist for students especially in developing their skills and talents. This is a great opportunity for them. Somehow, students must take responsibility also for their learning in order for them to improve in the next level.



online courses