If the school can get off the ground, it would serve up to 500 kids-mostly in Northwest Arkansas. But maybe others around the state could join. It's online, after all. Physical distance doesn't count all that much. We ourselves still have an archaic prejudice in favor of face to-face communication. And the kind of civilized conversation/discourse it promotes. ("Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man."-Francis Bacon.) But this Blended Virtual Learning idea does have possibilities.
An online school? Good idea or no?
We're gratified to be able to answer that question promptly: We don't know.
Patrick Wolf is in the University of Arkansas' department of education reform, and he told the paper it may not matter if the kids are actually sitting in a classroom. They can just learn long-distance. Online education hasn't been exactly a New Thing for about a decade now, so you'd think a lot of the kinks would have been found, straightened out, and ironed flat.
Now it's up to the state to give a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down to this dream and dreamer.
The state's Board of Education is likely to take up the matter after the first of the year. Maybe as soon as January.
Here's hoping this online charter gets approved. And that dreams can still become reality. If we work at dreams, they can prove more than just dreams.
What if it doesn't work, huh, huh, huh? That's always the first, middle, and maybe last argument of those who oppose charter schools. When they aren't pointing to those charter schools that have proved duds-and therefore had their charters yanked. Which is the best answer to their argument: If the charter school doesn't work, that is, if it doesn't live up to its charter, it's closed down. And the kids are sent off to other schools. Better schools, let's hope.
The best argument for charter schools is precisely the number of charters that have failed-and paid the price. They failed. They closed. End of school, end of failure, beginning of a new and better chance.
When was the last time you heard of a traditional public school being shut down because it failed its students, year after year, generation after generation? But when charter schools fail, they're closed. And need to be closed. It's called trial and error. And the method can work as well in education as it does in science.
For now, charter schools are worth a try. They might have a new-fangled idea or two that works. Like online schooling.
Dream on, dreamers. We need you. Education needs you. Our kids need you.
Texarkana Gazette, Dec. 15, 2012
Rogue nation getting closer to nuclear missile goal
It looks like new North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a chip off the old block.
The third in his family to rule the communist nation, Kim Jong-un took over from his father last year. Some hoped he would bridge relations with the West. Perhaps allow his citizens a bit more freedom. They hoped he would be a reformer.
Instead, it looks like he's very much in the family mold. He rules by fear, imprisoning or executing his enemies. Oppression is the order of the day. There is no free press, no free speech. The country is starving, save for the military and political elite.
Just like in his father's day.
Kim Jong-un has something else in common with his father, too. He wants a nuclear arsenal capable of striking far from home. He wants to be a real threat to other nations.
He got a step closer on Wednesday, when the nation launched a multistage rocket that apparently achieved orbit and operated as planned.
North Korea has tried to launch such a rocket before_and failed every time. This successful mission means its technology has advanced.
While it does boast a stockpile of nuclear weapons, so far, experts believe, North Korea hasn't yet come up with an atomic device small enough to fit in a rocket warhead.
But it looks like they have figured out how to deliver the warhead once that problem is solved.
The launch was in defiance of United Nations sanctions, of course. But when have such sanctions ever bothered North Korea?
And it's likely the U.N. will impose some more sanctions_equally futile.
It's much the same as the situation in Iran. The West uses diplomacy and sanctions. Iran sees that as weakness and continues to develop their nuclear weapons program.
This new development means that despite sanctions, despite being a desperately poor country, North Korea is working hard on its nuclear technology. And that it will achieve its goals unless something is done.
The idea that North Korea could have nuclear missiles capable of hitting neighboring counties_or even the U.S._is unacceptable. And all this talk is not working to stop such a scenario.
You don't let a rabid dog get near your front door. You shoot it before it's too late.
And that's something the West has to consider.