Letter: E-learning open to many students

Published 12:04 am Saturday, August 13, 2016

Dear editor,

Thanks for your recent story on St. John Public Schools’ entry into an entirely new way of learning, designed to make education more available to more people. But I want to add to your information.

E-learning is not just for former students who now want to earn their diplomas.

It’s also available for homebound students — those who can’t attend regular classes because of a handicap or disability — and for children who are currently home-schooled.

E-learning for disabled children is designed to include all the mandates for handicapped kids under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Parents who sign their children up for E-learning are still heavily involved in the process.

In fact almost anyone under 21 years old can sign up and see whether they’re qualified.

E-learning is a national trend, as public schools gradually move away from the bricks-and-mortar lecture-based model that has educated hundreds of millions in the past but may no longer apply to 21st Century learning styles.

Already some classroom books are being replaced by computer-generated worksheets that can be modified every time they need to be updated.

Textbooks are updated only once in seven years, far to slowly for today’s world.

In just four years, St. John students have gone from only 18 percent mastery of subjects tested under LEAP to over 30 percent earning Mastery or higher. E-learning is the next step in a process that has already boosted our state ratings from a low “C” to a strong “B,” making becoming an “A” rated district a real possibility in just a year or two.

— Russ Wise, St. John Parish School Board member