Examining the extent and nature of online learning in American K-12 Education:
The research initiatives of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Anthony G. Picciano, Jeff Seaman, Peter Shea, Karen Swan: Internet and Higher Education (15) 2012 127-135
In this 2012 scholarly journal article, the authors describe Babson College’s research work and contribution to the development of the ALN (Asynchronous Learning Network) .The authors identity Babson College as having received one of what was in 2012 more than 350 grants which were part of the $70 million in grants awarded by the Alfred P. Sloan foundation since 1992. The recipients had mainly been American Universities committed to studying the viability of Online learning as a vehicle for making education more available to Americans who wanted to get an education with the assistance of internet technology. The purposes of Babson College studies were two fold. The first was to examine the extent and nature of online learning in K-12 school districts and the second was to examine the role of online learning in high school reform initiatives.
The article has direct application to Public School District managers (K-12) and other stakeholders who must carefully balance course offerings and resources in a time where for many years, resources have been been increasingly tied to certain kinds of measurable performance and pressure to graduate students has also been intense thanks the 2001 No-Child Left Behind legislation passed during the George Bush administration. Jesse Rhodes 2012 book, American Institutions and Society : An Education in Politics : the origins and evolution of No Child Left Behind. Ithaca, US: Cornell University Press, 2012. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 21 October 2016.Copyright © 2012. Cornell University Press references analyst Pauline Lipman whom he quotes as saying, “With George W. Bush’s federal education legislation (endorsed by Congress), the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), school accountability, high stakes tests, standards, and systems of punishment and reward have been made official policy and the dominant education agenda in the U.S….These policies are just one aspect of the larger neoliberal project to privatize public institutions and commodify public and private life while increasing state regulation of individuals and institutions through new forms of accountability, testing, standards, and surveillance.” Online learning arguably provides much of the requisite capacity to manage and or address the requirements of NCLB.
This journal article is of significant value because the authors report that, “the American high school has been characterized as an institution in crisis and the call for reform has been loud and strong.” The identification of part of the response to the situation as coming through the use of rapidly accelerating reliance upon online learning (especially for students in urban school settings) for,” improving graduation rates, credit recovery, building connections for students to their future college careers, differentiating instruction, and supporting cost-efficiency for instruction” is notable. The authors do at the same time