An e(z)-way around class-size mandates
We never thought we’d say this. But, hats off to the Miami-Dade school district! Through a partnership with Florida Virtual School, the district has enrolled over 7,000 of its students in online courses taught by teachers over the Internet. The initiative is a smart, creative counter to the one-two punch of tough economic times and rigid class-size restrictions. (In Florida, elementary schools may only have eighteen students per class and high schools, twenty-five. The e-learning labs are exempt from these stifling and costly limitations.) While the Miami-Dade initiative has left status quo defenders fuming, it’s allowed the district to cut costs while still providing personalized, individual instruction. “Mass customization” they call it. There is no question that these e-lessons must be well-planned and well-implemented if this initiative is to be a plus for students. But to the teachers’ unions and their minions we say: Something’s got to give. Axe the Sunshine State’s ridiculous class-size mandate or start to get comfortable with alternative solutions to stretching the school dollar. ‘Nuff said.
“In Florida, Virtual Classrooms With No Teachers,” by Laura Herrera, New York Times, January 17, 2011.
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