Technology's great, but it could eliminate snow days
One of the best parts of winter could be melting away. Snow days in Indiana are becoming more rare.
The state's Department of Education will allow many schools to hold online learning days. They would be used when bad weather keeps students from attending school. This way, students won't miss critical instructional time. And it will help districts avoid extending the school year to make up for missed days.
But not everyone is on board with the change. The move has sparked concern from some members of the State Board of Education.
Board member Brad Oliver is one critic. He thinks the virtual option is worth exploring. But he wants assurances about how attendance and instruction will be monitored. That would help ensure students still receive the 180 days of instruction. Thats the number of days required by state law.
"I'm concerned about students getting lost in the cracks," Oliver said.
Last winter, some Indiana districts missed up to 15 days. That forced them to shorten spring breaks and extend school days. Some had to add extra days at the end of the year.
Virtual instruction does have its rules. Teachers must be available to answer questions. And schools must provide appropriate learning for those with disabilities.
Many districts are opening computer labs. Or theyre providing lists of businesses and libraries with free Internet. Other districts, where Internet access can be a challenge, have stuck with traditional makeup days.
Critical thinking challenge: What things are essential to make online learning work?