June 19, 2014 8:21 pm at 8:21 pm #613047
A company has recently been advertising here on YWN and took out a communicated article about providing individualized secular studies at a fraction of the cost of traditional education. They also claim that their computers are completely Kosher with absolute controls over internet access.
Everyone knows that the burden of tuition is one of the greatest challenges facing our community. This seems almost too good to be true. What do you think?June 19, 2014 9:27 pm at 9:27 pm #1020357☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
I don’t know, but I saw your name on the board, and just had to come on and say Sholom Aleichem!June 19, 2014 9:39 pm at 9:39 pm #1020358splendaMember
What’s so unbelievable about the pricing? Online education is very inexpensive in general and many of America’s leading institutions of higher learning (MIT, Harvard, etc.) make this material available (known as MOOC) at no charge.June 19, 2014 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm #1020359
So why don’t our schools take advantage of it?June 20, 2014 12:30 am at 12:30 am #1020360akupermaParticipant
1. Distance Education (e.g. online courses) require a serious student, and may not be suitable for children unless the parent is closely supervising.
2. Cost isn’t necessarily cheap for a frum family, so distance education providers generally do not give discounts based on family size or poverty – unlike frum schools
3. Some subjects really require a teacher, such as ones involved in acquiring language skills, The more interactive the course is, the more expensive it is.
4. Unless someone is hooking your house up with their own dedicated wires, you are accessing the same internet that everyone is. A “kosher” internet is just a program to keep you from looking at sites – and can easily be evaded.June 20, 2014 6:01 am at 6:01 am #1020361
If this would be offered by the schools themselves, I think it would resolve all of your issues.
1) There would still be a classroom setting and an adult supervising. However, there would be no need for a secular studies principal and licensed teachers with a Master’s degree etc; as they are just supervising for discipline and not instructing and there is no staff to supervise. Also, it would be possible to combine classes and have a much larger class size. While one teacher cannot teach a class of 50+ students, an individual could supervise them.
2) Using some napkin math; currently, average high-school full tuition is approximately $12,000, which is presumably the cost to the school of providing that education. Of that, around 1/3 is for secular studies; or around $4000/year/student. This company is proposing a mere fraction of that cost. If we save ~$3000yr/student, that savings goes somewhere. Hopefully, the school will pass it on the parents.
3) Actually, language has long been successfully taught without teachers, think Berlitz etc. In any event, this company offers a full curriculum at a set price.
4) The devices they offer are Chromebooks and they retain administrative rights. This enables them to have complete control over which sites, and even programs, the student can see and run. The students could not even play solitaire on the computer unless it is approved. Obviously, the internet connection should be password protected so no other devices can be attached. This password can be pre-loaded into the Chromebook so the student has no knowledge of it.
In short, it seems this could save ~$3000/student/year with little drawback. For a typical frum family, that is tens of thousands of dollars every year. Not to mention that it offers a higher quality of individual education than currently available.
I think every school should at least seriously consider if it is appropriate for them.
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