Online secondary school in Michigan; African-Americans and Internet access

It’s the mad mad MAD dash at the end of the semester (note to self: next time you’re going to be out of town for two weekends in a row and you’re trying to put together a couple of presentations for said out of town trips, AND you need to then turn one of said presentations into some kind of longer piece, make sure you plan ahead), and I’m not sure I’m going to make it. Though given that it is one way or the other soon just going to “end,” I suppose I will.

Anyway, two articles of note here via the NCTE Inbox:

First, there’s this, “Online courses aren’t just for homeschoolers anymore,” which is in The Christian Science Monitor. Talk about learning something new every day– see these three opening paragraphs:

If high school student Kelsey Speaks had taken all of her classes at her bricks-and-mortar school, she wouldn’t now be three years into her Latin studies. Since junior high, Kelsey has enrolled in eight courses in a virtual classroom through Colorado Online Learning, a state-funded program. The junior at tiny La Veta High School in southern Colorado says taking courses online is a great choice. “It’s allowed me to do things I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do,” she says.

In addition to letting her take courses (for free) that her school doesn’t offer, online learning has made her schedule flexible enough that she can captain the debate team, edit the yearbook, and do volunteer work as well. She also gets to study independently, which she enjoys.

Once considered the domain of home-schooled students, K-12 online learning is a fast-growing option for public school students in rural, urban, and suburban areas. Michigan lawmakers are likely to pass legislation soon that will require high school students to take one course online before they graduate.

The second article is “Digital Divide Closing as Blacks Turn to Internet” and in the New York Times. For the most part, it does exactly what the headline suggests: it reports on the closing of the gap between different groups (particularly African-Americans, but other minorities too) as it relates to Internet access, which I have certainly seen in my own teaching. But it also reports that this “closing of the gap” is somewhat debatable, which I have also seen in my own teaching.

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