Sunday, May 29, 2011

We Can Have Teachers Without Borders Part I

Dumb City Laws in Connecticut

· It is unlawful to walk backwards after sunset

· Only white Christmas lights are allowed for display

· You aren’t allowed to cross a street while walking on your hands

· You may not educate dogs

· It is illegal for a man to kiss his wife on Sunday


Tanya McDowell was arraigned in Connecticut for stealing a Norwalk public school kindergarten education for her five-year-old son. She was homeless at the time and used a fraudulent address to enroll her son in Brookside Elementary School. Apparently the education was worth more than $15,000 and its theft is a felony. Tanya was charged with first-degree larceny and if convicted may face up to 20 years in prison.

Earlier in the year, in Ohio, Kelly Williams-Bolar was convicted of felony counts of tampering with records for deception in enrolling two of her children in Copley-Fairlawn schools. She lived outside of the school boundaries, but used her father’s address to enroll her children.

These laws and punitive consequences are unnecessary. School boundaries are meaningless with today’s technology and 21st century education. Yet we hold onto these antiquated laws and borders to maintain the status quo.

Online virtual schools and online social networks are reshaping the way we think of schools.

Leading the way is K12 Inc., a technology-based education company. K12 Inc. is our nation’s largest provider of online education for grades k–12. They offer public education options throughout many parts of the United States. They have an international private school option available anywhere with internet access. Specific online courses can also be purchased to supplement learning for another program or different style of schooling.

Recently, K12 has announced an agreement to acquire the Kaplan Virtual Education (KVE) division of Kaplan Inc.

Kaplan Inc. is best known for test preparation workbooks and other educational resource materials. The company founded Kaplan Virtual Education in 2007 to enter the growing online education market. Recently KVE bought Insight Schools Inc. to increase their assets and market share in the industry. Insight Schools is a leader in online high schools.

Kaplan Virtual Education and Insight Schools Inc. will now belong to K12 Inc. This will be a quick growth spurt of assets and market share for a company with more online options for education across the country than anyone else.

California Virtual Academies (CAVA), the largest online public charter school in the nation, is one of the options powered by K12 Inc. The California Virtual Academies, with more than 11,000 students, offers a free full time k-12 regionally accredited public education for students in California. Just about anywhere in California.

It is a public school. There is a curriculum. The students do have a teacher. They do meet their teacher, and have clubs, and go out on field trips. What they do not have is a brick and mortar school building that defines their school boundaries.

The trend for k-12 education is toward some form of online learning. Physical school boundaries are becoming meaningless.

This is the first in a series exploring the online possibilities of schooling.

Please visit me at Facebook – Carlos Mendoza

Stamford Advocate - Lawmakers raise questions in case of homeless woman enrolling son in Norwalk school

Fox News - Connecticut Mother Pleads Not Guilty in School Enrollment Case – Case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, Akron mom jailed for sending kids to suburban school, stirs emotions

NPR - Ohio Case: The 'Rosa Parks Moment' For Education?

Huffington Post – Kelley Williams-Bolar, Tanya McDowell Cases Raise Fairness Questions

PR Newswire - K12 Inc. announces agreement to purchase k-12 assets of Kaplan Virtual Education

Education Week – K12 Inc. buys Kaplan Virtual Ed

10 San Diego - More Local Students Going To School Online

NBC Bay Area – Virtual Schools Now A Reality

California Virtual Academies

K12 Inc.

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