Story image

International expert warns NZ to steer clear of 'corporate online schools'

30 Nov 16

An international education expert has come out swinging about the idea of letting private entities own and run its own online schools, saying that students would do better to learn in a public school.

Professor Gary Miron, an expert in virtual and charter schools, says corporate online schools are a poor idea and would be detrimental to New Zealand.

“Online learning is an important education tool for students. I’m not against online schools at all, but years of research and evaluation show that students achieve better results when that learning takes place in a public school setting,” Miron says.

He says that the effects of full-time virtual schools are clearly demonstrated in the United States.

“Full-time virtual schools are the fastest growing form of school choice in the USA. Research on online schools has revealed that they have serious problems, such as extremely high student attrition and very poor results.”

His research found that poor performance was a main effect of virtual schools, and recommended that policymakers slow or halt the growth in number of virtual schools. His research also suggested that virtual schools should have a maximum ratio of students to teachers to ensure more resources are available for instruction.

“When private entities and corporations are invited into the education sector they do what they are built to do; make profits for themselves. Privately owned online schools are akin to invasive species. They are introduced into a new setting where they thrive because they have no predators and no checks and balances," He says.

“New Zealand already has high quality and innovative online education within the state school system; growing and developing those resources may be the best way forward.”

Gary Miron is a professor in Evaluation, Measurement and Research at Western Michigan University, and also a fellow at the US National Education Policy Center. His research focused on international and comparative education, school choice and online schools.

Royole's FlexPai: So bendable phablets are a reality now
A US-based firm called Royole is delivering on that age-old problem of not being able to fold up your devices (who hasn't ever wished they could fold their phone up...)
Hands-on review: Having fun in Knowledge is Power: Decades and Chimparty
They don’t revolutionise social video gaming, but they are enjoyable enough to occupy you during a wet weekend. 
Kiwis losing $24.7mil to scam calls every year
The losses are almost five times higher compared to the same period last year, from reported losses alone.
Tile's Mate & Pro Bluetooth trackers land in NZ
If your car keys (or your tablet) have disappeared into the void at the back of the couch or if you left them somewhere in your car, retracing your steps to find them could be a thing of the past.
Government still stuck in the past? Not on GovTech's watch
What exactly is GovTech and what’s been happening in our capital city?
"Is this for real?" The reality of fraud against New Zealanders
Is this for real? More often than not these days it can be hard to tell, and it’s okay to be a bit suspicious, especially when it comes to fraud.
Hands-on review: The iPhone Xs
The iPhone Xs is a win that brought numerous new and exciting features to the market.
How much does your Amazon Prime Video subscription really get you?
For our NZ$8.90 per month, the average cost per title is US$0.00126 - but we only really get a choice of 416 TV shows and 4321 movies. Choice is a little bit limited compared to other countries.