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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What Do You Do When?

Over a year ago I posted an entry entitled "Adressing Virtual Schooling Concerns" , which was in response to an entry that Vicki Davis (i.e., Cool Cat Teacher Blog) had posted. It was basically about cheating in virtual schools, or more specifically her comment:
"Yes, plaigarism may be a concern, but I think the greater concern is parentarism."

I raise this again now because after a year there, and a short dialogue that Vicki and I had, there was a new comment posted today.
"I'm concerned. My stepson is in Beaver County PA and has been cyberschooled for the last 2 years. According to his sister, her mother does all of his work and testing. The child is functionally illiterate and not even all that functional. I do not know what to do or where to turn. What a great disservice to my child. "

Let's forget for a minute that the cyber school is in Pennsylvania (cause I've ranted before about the lack of oversight for cyber schools in that state and Ohio in particularly). What advice do we have for this concerned step-parent?

For myself, I would think that a visit from an official from the local school district official (which can probably be requested) would be in order. Maybe some testing by the school district to ensure that the student is at grade level (or at least at the place where the cyber school claims that he is). Also, an anonomous tip to the local newspaper or a local legislative member or a member of the local school district or school council about these kinds of activities (without naming your own family) and let them do the digging and attempt to expose what is actually happening at this cyber school.

I make these kinds of suggestions for two reasons. The first is that this should expose the school for having quite a relaxed form of assessment and monitoring of that assessment, and improvements in these areas would help your stepson by preventing his mother from doing his school work in the future. The second is that this is a problem with the way in which the instruction is delivered and assessed by both the school and its teachers. If these problems are addressed it would provide a better educational experience for all of the students at this cyber school.

But these are just some of my ideas... What would you suggest to this step-parent?

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