Rep. Craig Horn. For finding ways to use technology for technology’s sake and for trying to use preschoolers as bait to fuel an already sketchy industry.
It is HB 485.
A Virtual Early Learning Program.
In other words, it is virtual preschool for 3 to 4 -year olds.
In the three page proposal, Horn and other co-sponsors want to “evaluate the effectiveness of giving preschool-age children access, at home, to interactive individualized instruction delivered by computers and the Internet to prepare them academically for success in school; and (ii) test the feasibility of scaling a home-based curriculum in reading, math, and science delivered by computers and the Internet to all preschool-age children in the State.”
He wants preschool kids to be in front of a computer screen to run through a curriculum program that would obviously make some private entity more money. He wants to allow preschool children to help the bottom line of the virtual school industry.
North Carolina already has two virtual charter schools for school-age students. N.C. Connections Academy is associated with the giant company Pearson. It is almost doing as badly as the other for-profit virtual charter school in the state, N.C. Virtual Academy.
Both schools were successful in getting their contracts extended this past summer, even when Stanford University (as Billy Ball stated last year) “reported serious deficiencies in student performance nationwide in like programs” ((http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2017/11/07/controversial-virtual-charter-school-seeks-funding-boost-permanent-status/#sthash.I8Prd1UE.dpbs).
And now Rep. Horn wants to expand the “clientele” to preschoolers? And expand the potential for more failure.
So what would a virtual preschool do to help preschoolers to get outside and exercise and learn to socialize with other kids to build those foundational skills that kids so need?
In a day and age where so much research is showing that our kids do not need to be in front of a screen but in other activities that require more kinetic outlets, Horn is talking about making them more dependent on computers.
And it assumes that all students who would use it would be to have a connection to the internet in a state where over a fifth of our already enrolled students in public schools live in poverty.
Unless the state will be providing computers.
Maybe Mark Johnson can find some more iPads.