|D. Craig Horn|
"Let Them Eat Pixels"
No, really. The "Virtual Early Learning Pilot Program" was filed by some powerful Republicans including D. Craig Horn of Union County, who chairs a couple of education committees in the NC House, and Harry Warren of Rowan County (among others).
Kristopher Nordstrom, senior policy analyst for the NC Justice Center's Educational Law Center, points out that "early childhood experts almost universally warn against virtual pre-school programs" because a computer screen is not the same thing as human contact with other children and other adults.
Master teacher Justin Parmenter, a finalist for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teacher of the year in 2016, offers this wise commentary:
Many of the advantages of a quality preschool education require children to actually be in the presence of other people. Those advantages include, among many other things, learning how to communicate effectively with peers, how to work together to solve problems, how to share and wait for your turn, how to be independent, and how to be respectful toward peers and adults. Those lessons form a critical foundation which helps prepare children for the transition to kindergarten.The Republicans in the General Assembly want to by-pass that sort of pre-school because it's more expensive than sitting a kid in front of a computer screen -- they're just poor and minority kids, after all, and should be grateful.
"Additional ickiness," about this bill, according to Nordstrom: "It was clearly written to direct appropriations to a specific virtual pre-school provider called UPSTART. What sort of contact has this company had with the bill's sponsors? Why have they chosen this specific provider of an unneeded service?"
Pay to play?
"Even more ickiness," from Nordstrom: "It's a pilot program for children in poverty. Lawmakers would never inflict a misguided experiment like this on the children of rich white families..."
All of this comes on the heels of the complete failure of the virtual charter schools "pilot" program. The 2 virtual charters have been among worst 2 schools in the state, yet the "pilot" was deemed successful and the schools extended an additional four years ... NCGA lawmakers continue to pursue bullshit ideas to avoid facing the facts: it costs money to have high-quality education programs. You can't have a quality education system when you've already given away $3.6bn a year to corporations & the wealthy ... Both virtual charters and virtual pre-school have a common champion: @dcraighorn [D. Craig Horn]. He goes to a lot of education events. He should face tough questions about these two programs wherever he goes.