I asked a question about the value of online learning, and this teacher responded somewhat off-topic. But what he says raises an interesting question. Are public officials and their cascade of programs making it impossible for teachers to teach? Are they destroying the last vestiges of professional autonomy? Do they talk “respect” but act top-down? Why won’t they let teachers teach? What do they expect to accomplish by their constant interference?
This teacher wrote:
Well, as part of Reading First, all the K-3 classroom/reading/special education teachers and assistants in my school had to complete all the online modules in the New York State Reading Academy. Why, it worked so well that the following year New York State made us complete all the online modules of Voyager: Reading for Understanding. Of course, after studying a topic online we had opportunities to try things out with our students and then meet to reflect and discuss everything in study groups. Since then, we’ve made AYP every year and always managed to stay off the SINI list, so I guess you could say it was successful, but that was under NCLB where at least everything was clearly defined. Now, with APPR, CCSS, RTTT and waivers, everything seems to be about as clear as mud and we’re all sort of stumbling along trying to figure out just what it is that the powers that be actually do want. Consensus opinion is that there really isn’t much of a plan, that they’re winging it and making it up as they go along, and that seems to be validated by the constant updates and questionable quality of the materials and guidance offered by NYSED through the EngageNY website. When I was in the private sector, we called this “discovery based learning,” which meant just keep trying until you finally figure out what the boss wants. How well you can learn from any course, online or otherwise, would have to start with the quality of the course design.