The Salt-Box More fidgety than expected

How We Learned To Stop Worrying (Not Really) and Love (Well, Accept, Anyway) Online High School

Apparently all the ed tech futurists are right and eventually all education will be online.

Well, maybe not, but somewhat to my surprise we find ourselves on the cusp of enrolling the 15yo in online high school for his junior year. As someone who’s a fan of public schools, both for ideological reasons and for student loan debt reasons, this calls for some explanation.

The reasons can be summarized pretty simply:

  1. Each of the last two years, he’s been absent for over forty days. The school has been understanding about this, in part because he has the highest GPA possible for a sophomore on both the unweighted/weighted scales. The city, however, has a zero-tolerance policy about absenteeism, and so we’ve spent a day or so each year engaging with Child Services about it, which isn’t fun. The number of absences is likely to increase a little the next two years, which is a battle we weren’t looking forward to.

  2. His former high school had plenty of AP classes*, but it was remarkably difficult to assemble a schedule that let you take more than one or two. Since time isn’t real online, that’s not really a problem anymore, so he’ll have four AP classes, an honors physics class, and Latin II. He couldn’t have done that before, and he’s happier with the more aggressive schedule.

That’s pretty much it. He’s already taken 3 high school classes online, so is familiar with the routine. And since his former school pulled in students from all over the state, it’s not like he’s withdrawing from the kids/social scene he grew up with.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this works out, and to understanding more concretely what an all ed tech, all the time approach to high school looks like.

It’s already a little weird, as I can’t get a concrete answer about diversity from anyone at the school, except for some handwaving about international students. And it’s a little odd that “admissions” seems to hang entirely on “has the check cleared,” and to recognize that basically all the social stuff associated with high school isn’t going to happen, but we will remain upbeat for now!

** Let’s agree in advance that AP classes are basically nonsense as a “substitute for college classes,” but also agree that they’re a way to signal “I’m taking the most challenging schedule possible.”