In an earlier post, one of our readers asked whether it was appropriate for the United States Department of Education to endorse commercial products. The product that won plaudits from federal officials, paid for with our tax dollars, is called Edgenuity. As you might expect, it is a computer program that replaces teacher-student interaction. The U.S. ED wants to solve the high cost of teachers by funding Teach for America and technology that replaces teachers.


Is Edgenuity a great product? Evidently not.


A blogger described what happened when his school district adopted Edgenuity.


He writes:


Students have expressed quiet and loud frustration; parents have also complained. To find compromise and rest the restless, a Digital Learning Committee was formed consisting of teachers, students, and concerned parents. Complaints center around concerns surrounding the implementation, the quality of education, student/computer over-use, and lack of teacher/student interaction. Some students are not only unhappy with the system but they are feeling as though their education is being hindered and many parents are feeling uncomfortable with the system, as well.


Students are not happy with the loss of a real teacher:


Some students have been concerned about the quality of education they are achieving through the Edgenuity system. Hazel voices this concern when she says, “I’m not a strong supporter of online learning in general, but I realize that it is useful for elective and language classes. However, it is only useful if the classes are of high quality, which Edgenuity has more than proved itself not to be. The lectures are not lectures at all; rather, bland Powerpoint style screens read by a talking head who clearly knows very little, if anything, on the subject…Do I think that Edgenuity is improving my education at Kenny Lake? Overall, no. It is a constant, daily source of frustration for me and my peers. I am not graded fairly. How can anyone’s intelligence be judged by multiple choice questions and virtual teachers?… Some courses, like government/economics, are completely unnecessary to have online since we have great, real teachers already willing to teach them. Many are wrought with factual errors, so what is the point of having them at all?”


With the addition of Edgenuity and other online learning courses is the sudden end to most student-teacher interaction. As Hazel said, the days were once filled with “…banters with teachers…” and “…thought provoking group discussion…” which are now replaced by long silences with nothing but the clacking of fingers on keyboards, while the teacher stands and paces in the classroom without much input or excitement. In fact, there is no excitement in the learning and no passion in the teaching. “The program wasn’t designed to be used in conjunction with an actual teacher,” Patty says. “Where I would see a compromise, like I said, is where it would be used for classes that aren’t available and where there isn’t a real live teacher.”


Most devastating is the blogger’s conclusion:


In general, Edgenuity has not been well-accepted within the Kenny Lake community. Many appear to be against it or at least in support of a modified version of it. The program itself adopts an industrious attitude that leaves much more to be desired (“Education is not an industry,” Hazel notes). There is no passion and no heart in the teaching – a listless and boring system that repeats a monotonous cycle. If this is the future, the future is a place of tedium: a place where learning is no longer embraced by schools enthusiastically: a place where we are fed information, instead of inspired by knowledge. Hopefully, next semester will be one with less strife and all the kinks will be worked out.


No passion. No heart. A listless and boring system.


Who could ask for anything less?