by Wrench in the Gears
May 10, 2017
Digital education, pitched to parents as innovative, future-ready,
and personalized, reduces student access to human teachers and builds
robust data profiles that can be used for workforce tracking, behavioral
compliance, and fiscal oversight. While adaptive online learning is a
key element of the Ed Reform 2.0 agenda, it is not the only concern.
Another issue that merits close attention is the push to expand
“out-of-school time” (OST) learning programs.
Increasingly states are passing credit flexibility legislation
where students have the option to earn school credit for activities
that take place outside school buildings and without the direct
involvement of a certified teacher; though teachers are often pressed to
manage the associated paperwork with no additional resources. These are
known as ELOs, extended, expanded, or enhanced learning opportunities.
States with credit flexibility may also allow online classes to be
considered for ELO credit. Even when not offered for credit, out of
school time partners have stepped in to provide programs that have been
intentionally and systematically stripped from the curriculum
through the imposition of punitive austerity and accountability
measures. Increasingly, student access to art, music, drama, creative
writing, and enrichment activities, particularly in low-income and
turnaround schools, is contingent on tapping into programs offered by
community-based organizations (CBOs).
I’ve written previously about ELOs but
wanted to raise the issue again after obtaining correspondence via an
open records request to the Pennsylvania Department of Education
regarding input provided on the development of the state’s new education
plan as required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). One letter stood
out from the rest. You can read it HERE.