Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

The Reality of Virtual Schooling

Ohanian Comment: Jonathan Kozol says this Greenfield virtual school sounds like something William Burroughs would have dreamed up--in his words "a nightmare." I think he must have said this after listening to Superintendent Susan Hollins, who offers a very disturbing persona.

Among other things, Superintendent Susan Hollins describes teachers as technicians delivering a product, and she's glad K12 is there as curriculum developers. . . "We're doing something entreprneurial--that's different--and very interesting."


Give is a listen. It will help you appreciate your own superintendent.

For an up-close-and-personal look at the early grades social studies curriculum developed by K12, see my piece. The Massachusetts Virtual Academy describes this curriculum as "The exceptional, effective K12 curriculum." Indeed. Read my specifics, and see what you think.


In this week's program, we explore the proliferation of virtual schools. Virtual schools offer on-line education to primary and secondary school students without the added expenses associated with brick and mortar structures and unionized teachers and support staff.

We hear opinions on virtual schools from well-known education scholars Jonathon Kozol and Diane Ravitch. We investigate one such virtual school, the Massachusetts Virtual Academy in Greenfield, Massachusetts. We talk with the superintentendent of schools, Dr. Susan Hollins, who was the driving force behind the opening of that school in 2010, and we also speak with two Greenfield School Committee members, Maryelen Calderwood and Andrew Blais, who opposed it. Finally, we turn to early childhood education scholar Nancy Carlsson-Paige, who talks about the vitally important social, emotional and cognitive needs of young children that are in danger of not being met by virtual schools.

We also explore K12 Inc., a for-profit publicly traded technology-based education company that touts itself as the largest provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs for primary and secondary students in the United States. It is also one of the fastest growing operators of virtual charter schools worldwide. K-12 Inc. was founded in 1999 by Michael Milken and William J. Bennett, a former Reagan Secretary of Education and Bush senior drug czar. We take some time to talk about the background of these men, along with several others involved with this company.

Follow the links below to download this show as a podcast:

Education Radio Program #7 The Reality of Virtual Schooling on Audioport
Education Radio Program #7
The Reality of Virtual Schooling on Internet Archive

To learn more about virtual schools and about what you hear on this program, visit the following links:

Education According to Mike Milken by John Hechinger

Virtual Schools Expand Students' Network by Laura Insensee

Outsourcing Information: The Rise of Virtual Schools by Nancy Hanover

— blogspot
Education Radio





This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.