This Week’s Report: “Digital Education”

Computers are replacing – or at least supplementing -- teachers in American classrooms, and the fast-growing trend has led to both excitement and dread in education circles, as Staff Writer Marcia Clemmitt explains in this week’s report.

“While digital devices have become ubiquitous worldwide,” she writes, “debate is raging over whether – and which – technologies have proved their worth as learning tools. Some school systems have fully embraced technology. But critics argue that money for such programs would be better spent on teachers.”

Online learning is rapidly shaping curriculum decisions. Idaho requires high school students to complete at least two online courses to graduate. And a number of states, led by Florida, are creating “virtual” public schools that allow students to complete their entire high school education without ever stepping into a traditional classroom.

This report is a good foundation for debates, classes and papers on education policy, the role of technology in society and state and local allocation of public funds.

--Thomas J. Billitteri, Managing Editor