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The New York State Board of Regents is taking a closer look at the growing use of online classes in high schools. Called “credit recovery” programs, students who fail a class can retake it online.

The Albany Times Union reports on critics who say this is just “Googling to graduation:”

And while it’s an open secret in many districts, critics say credit recovery allows young people to cheat themselves out of an education while boosting a school district’s graduation rate. This makes adults look more successful, while robbing children of an education. Schools can also cut personnel costs because fewer teachers are needed when student learning is shifted online.

True costs are pushed to the future, when students arrive at public community colleges and can’t do the work.


“We need to be vigilant about its use,” (Regents Chancellor Merryl) Tisch said recently. “We understand it must be used for the purpose it was designed for and not a graduation mill.”

Next year, Regents Chancellor Tisch said, the state Education Department will require schools to break out the number of students using credit recovery when they report graduation rates. While she thinks the program is important, she said schools need to understand there will be accountability if it is abused.

I reported on the Rochester City School District’s growing credit recovery program in the fall of 2011. It wasn’t as Mickey Mouse as I expected, with students in labs with teachers. There is coursework required and cheating detection software. I still don’t understand how the district can feel good about offering an online class for physical education.

The biggest safeguard for Regents classes is students still have to pass the exam. You can’t Google your way out. If the RCSD’s graduation rate is any indication, the online classes are not making much of a dent or they are keeping the rate from getting even lower.

The state is right, however, to scrutinize the exploding use of these online classes.

Links of the Day:

– The Buffalo News finds Mitt Romney is a hot topic at the Hill Cumorah pageant. The New York Times finds little talk of politics.

– Reporters for major news organizations routinely agree to allow the Obama and Romney campaigns to censor quotes before they’re published.

When parents hover and kids don’t grow up…

TV channel blackouts are the new normal.

3 Responses to Scrutinizing Online High School Classes

  1. re online regents tests:

    Sounds to me like another high tech form of grad inflation.

    “No child left online?”

  2. July 16, 2012 at 9:40 am lynn e responds:

    As long as districts are punished for not graduating students this stuff will happen. We need to make a concentrated effort on poverty and stop mucking around with schools as a great equalizer. Schools can only do so much and without any great effort made to reduce urban and rural poverty this is what we get.

  3. July 16, 2012 at 10:22 pm Edward Richards responds:

    This may be contrary to what the article says, but online education (in my experience) is a waste. I enrolled in one, an english class, (the only online class I think works online).

    After much ado, I failed the class, an F, (even as I tried).

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