CA online education has serious roadblocks

CA online education has serious roadblocks

Jan. 15, 2013

By Katy Grimes

Gov. Jerry Brown announced last week that he will be pushing online education, and made provisions for this in his 2013-14 budget proposal.

The governor has already started lobbying the California State University and  University of California regents to expand online courses for college students.

Brown said in his budget proposal press conference on Thursday that he wants to be able to reach more students, and save costs.

But there’s a giant problem with California’s online education restrictions.

State rules bar teachers with out-of-state licenses from teaching online courses to California students, requiring that all teachers can only have California teaching credentials.

According to Lance Izumi, J.D., Senior Fellow with the Pacific research Institute, and author of Short Circuited: The Challenges Facing the Online Learning Revolution in California, the National Education Association, the parent organization of the California Teachers Association, says there should be “an absolute prohibition against the granting of charters for the purpose of home-schooling, including online charter schools that seek home-schooling over the Internet.”

The California Federation of Teachers, in model contract language, says: “No employee shall be displaced because of distance learning or other educational technology.”

In other words, it’s all about the teachers.

Izumi explained that online education also must meet the CFT and CTA student-teacher ratios for independent study.

California limits students who attend an online, virtual charter school, to take the courses within the county in which they reside. Why take online courses at all if you can drive, bike or walk to the school?

California has the most burdensome government regulations in the Western United States for online learning, Izumi found in Short Circuited. “The union still wants to protect classrooms and the teachers who staff them,” Izumi wrote.

In 2005, the California Federation of Teachers issued its revised contract template titled, “A Framework for Contract Negotiations Related to Educational Technology Issues.”  According to Izumi, it is still being used, and is referenced on its website.

The following language is from this contract template:

Policy rationale: Contracting out bargaining unit work can take the form of a district contracting with an independent contractor to produce course software. A district could contract with a company to produce certain course offerings or could offer courses over the Internet that have not been developed in-house. In each case, someone else is doing the bargaining unit’s work. 

A.Model Contract Language 

No employee shall be displaced because of distance learning or other educational technology. The use of distance education technology shall not be used to reduce, eliminate, or consolidate faculty positions within the district. 

No work normally performed by any member of the faculty bargaining unit shall be contracted out without the express agreement of the Federation. 

No distance education sections shall be instructed or conducted by persons not employed within the faculty bargaining unit. 

No distance education or technology-related work shall be performed by other than members of this bargaining unit. 

No member of the bargaining unit will be displaced because of distance learning or computer-aided courses as long as workload in credit courses is available in traditional modes. 

Izumi’s book reveals the endless education possibilities in online learning. And kudos to Gov. Brown for saying that he supports online education. But, if he truly supports online learning in California, there are real reforms in the education code, and within the CFT and CTA, which must take place before Brown will truly be furthering student learning through online education.

Throwing more money from the state budget at online education won’t help students as long as the teachers unions are waiting in the wings to lap it up in fat contracts.

This video was made by Izumi, and focuses on the challenges and advantages of online education and virtual learning.



Write a comment
  1. Jesse Bluma
    Jesse Bluma 15 January, 2013, 15:36

    The Republican Party of old would support hiring local teachers and would be against initiatives like the Common Core. Today’s Republican Party seems not to care about local control. Picking a fight over which people get to teach online seems like another fumble by Republicans. If you want to save money stop the billions going into Common Core, Race to the Top, and the salaries of superintendents and politicians.

    Reply this comment
  2. Hondo
    Hondo 16 January, 2013, 00:03

    Khan Academy online is totally free and is hated by the kali teachers union. When are the students and the parents going to see that the teachers unions are the most anti education people in the state.

    Reply this comment
  3. Hondo
    Hondo 16 January, 2013, 00:09

    Online learning is so green even al gore could love it. Instead of driving all over town, back and forth to school, burning fossil fuels, you could sit home and study. The lower costs could balance Kalifornia’s budget. All books could be online and free and we could stop killing trees.
    All you liberals tell me whats wrong with this picture. It’s green and free and the unions hate it.

    Reply this comment
  4. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 16 January, 2013, 08:57

    Let me add that Izumi’s book came out in November 2010…..No doubt there have been huge advancements in the delivery of on-line ed even in those two short years.

    There are six reviews of Izumi’s book on Amazon. Five of them rate the book “5 stars”. One gives it only “1 star”, and calls the book “incredibly biased”.

    That review from a certain Arthur Ashendorf, who is……..a teacher with Newport-Mesa School District in Orange County. Imagine that.

    Reply this comment
  5. nick
    nick 16 January, 2013, 13:46

    This article contains some grammar errors, you might want to clean up…
    2nd sentence: “cources” misspelling
    Paragraph 6: “pacific” needs to be capitalized
    Paragraphs 6 and 11: “Circuted” misspelling

    Reply this comment
  6. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 16 January, 2013, 16:27

    Thank you, Nick, for your contribution.

    Now please return to your basement. I’m sure Mommy will bring down the Hot Pockets and Jolt soda in a jiff.

    Reply this comment
  7. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 17 January, 2013, 06:11

    Online is bogus, the interaction and free exchange of ideas of the students, and DIFFERENT view points, is what males a person educated. That only comes from a classroom IMO.

    There is also the problem of who is actually taking the course online. I recall a USC trust fund grad who paid her roommate to write her papers.

    Reply this comment

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