Proposal would eliminate funding for kids in K – 5th Grade
Olympia, WA – The Digital Public Schools Alliance, a coalition of Washington parents who have children in online public schools, are vehemently opposed to a new proposal from Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. The proposal, released recently by Dorn’s office, would eliminate funding entirely for children who attend full-time online programs in grades kindergarten through 5th grade.
“We are outraged!” said Eric Stark, a board member of the Digital Public Schools Alliance with a daughter in 3rd grade at the Washington Virtual Academy. “Superintendent Dorn is destroying a public school option that is working for young kids who need an alternative to the traditional classroom setting, and forestalling an inevitable trend in the future of education. Our parents will fight this every step of the way.”
Superintendent Dorn reportedly opposes full-time online instruction because he believes parents are the ones teaching the child rather than certified teachers. This displays a gross lack of knowledge by an elected official who is supposed to be the state’s top education expert. In a digital public school the parents do not create the curriculum, set the lesson plan, administer assessments, identify areas that require more instruction, and manage that intervention; all of that is done by quality, state-certified teachers who have the same training and experience as teachers in a traditional classroom.
“Saying that teachers do not teach our kids reveals a lack of understanding of the way digital public schools operate,” said Kimberly Platt, President of Digital Public Schools Alliance. “That is inexcusable for our state’s highest education official.”
Digital public school parents have long fought the perception that their kids are not actually learning because they do not follow the standard model of sitting in a classroom with 30 other kids while a teacher stands in front of the room drawing on a board. Fortunately, the “standard” model is giving way to new ways of learning that provide student-centered, individualized instruction, grounded in the use of technology.
“Superintendent Dorn needs to overcome the notion that the only way for a child to learn is to sit in a classroom with 30 other kids,” said Platt. “The world is embracing technology as a tool to customize learning to individual kids, particularly those who need an alternative to the traditional classroom. Instead of fighting this innovation, he should embrace it.”
The Dorn proposal was presented to the Washington State House Education Appropriations Committee on November 29th and is being submitted to the Legislature for consideration next month.