Classroom setting important for young students
John Eggers brought up some valid points (March 16) in regards to the prevalence of online classes as a growing portion of today's education. However, I think the piece is missing the mark on the issue that Bemidji is facing, which is the lack of space for today's elementary school students.
As this matter has been covered on a frequent basis, one would assume that the subject John is alluding to is the lack of space that the Bemidji School District has available for elementary school students and whether or not to build another school.
Quoting My. Eggers: Schools as we know them today will no longer exist in 2114. School buildings are still constructed today, but before long, one of the questions that communities should begin to ask is "Do we still need a school building?" As you know, it is now possible to get a high school diploma by attending a virtual high school where everything is online. Colleges and universities have been operating "schools" without campuses for many years and more and more classes are being offered online every year. Online learning is big business.
The matter of online education for high school and college students vs. elementary students is vastly different. Where a high school student may be self-sufficient enough to stay home and complete their assignments (and I stress "may" as I know many high schoolers who are not responsible enough to do this), an elementary age student is not. Young children thrive off of the attention, hands-on learning and socialization that a classroom environment has to offer. This may not be the choice that everyone makes, and I wholeheartedly respect those who are willing and able to homeschool their children. However, this decision should remain a choice. I for one would like to continue to live in a society where my children have the option of receiving an education in a classroom setting. This will only be possible if communities continue to accommodate the growing number of students by building more facilities when needed.
I think we should be very careful not to generalize this issue when the lack of elementary school space is a very important to many people in Bemidji, and I believe will still be significant in 2114.