Saturday, November 26, 2011

Virtual School

K12 Inc., which is based in Virginia, is a company that thinks it is a good idea for kids to go to "virtual" schools instead of the schools with windows, doors, teachers and class bells.
They would think that, because they are the leading suppliers of virtual schools in the country.

Ronald Packard is the CEO of this invisible school company and he says, "For many kids the local school doesn't work."
Where was he when I was going to school?

I tried that line on my Mom, "Mom, this grade school thing just doesn't work for me."
Her answer was to grab me by the arm and force me to walk through those big school doors as I cried like a baby on that first day of school. I remember it like it was yesterday.

That is my first of many memories of going to school, yes, into an actual building, and learning while interacting with other children. I'm sure for some people, for various reasons, being home schooled was the best thing. I know of a few people who went that route and things seem to have worked out beautifully. But for the population as a whole, to spend 12 years sitting in front of a computer, going to "virtual school", my opinion is that isn't such a great idea.

Think of all the things the virtual students would miss.
Recess for one. How awesome was recess?
How about the 8th grade dance? Talk about learning to deal with pressure. As the girls stood on one side of the room and the boys stood on the other, the mood was similar to what must have been felt at the standoff at the OK Carrol.

These are priceless memories that can't be had in virtual school.
High school Prom is another argument. If I was schooled virtually, I would have missed out on dancing in a tacky gymnasium with the smell of High Karate cologne in the air. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

And detention. If you're in virtual school, there are no detention slips. I even learned things while attending Saturday detentions. We had to kneel on the tile floor for 1 hour and I learned that, that hurts like hell.

Who knows, maybe it will work out. I think that the socialization that comes with attending school is almost as important as the lessons that are taught.
If everyone is attending virtual school, will we have a population of kids with the social awkwardness of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg? ( yes, I know he is a gazillionair )


Alison said...

I'm with you on this. Well, of course, because I'm a teacher! But not just that - like you, I have real memories of school, and just today I had lunch with a friend I first met in the third form. (13 years old.) Magic.

Anonymous said...

Social skills are dying and most of them are learned by going to a school in a brick and mortar building. Most kids are not disciplined enough to go to a virtual school and would just end up surfing the net all day. BIG mistake!

Formerly known as Frau said...

I think being amongst your peers has some of the best lessons to be learned!

Jerral Miles said...

Wow! I definitely think "Virtual School" is a terrible concept... for just about everybody. Even the new iPhone I got last week, while seeming to be a good thing, could be isolating. The woman's voice on the iPhone that tells me what the weather in Vancouver is when I ask "What's ...," and the woman's voice in my car's GPS telling me when to turn... when to, where to... Nothing beats a one to one (or even twenty to twenty) relationship with real people seeing and hearing each other. Now, I must admit that friendship, a BLOG friendship, is a very good thing... but even this one keeps me believing that one day Mark and Jerral will sit down somewhere for a cup of coffee. It will happen.

Alison said...

Coffee sounds good. Let me know and I'll come too! Lol.

missing moments said...

Great post and totally agree with you! I loved all the things about school.

Marilyn said...

I so totally agree here. My sister home schooled all four of her boys and they are the most awkward young men now, with very little social skills. Will you be running for President? I would vote for you.