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Final Word: Grade-school kids belong in classroom, not online

It's official: I don't like online education for grade- schoolers. I don't think it should be a viable alternative for anyone under the age of 14 unless he or she has a disability that makes it impossible or unhealthy for them to attend school.

Online college makes a lot of sense for some kids. Online courses in high school could too, under the right set of circumstances.

But elementary school? Come on.

The article pointed out the funding problems that occur when a student attends a school AND takes an online class inside a district. The district loses a reimbursement for a cost they likely pay whether or not that child is in his or her seat all day.

With school funding per pupil in Arizona at an all-time low, we certainly don't need our kids to lose any more funding.

But aside from the funding question, I have always wondered about the worth of an online GRADE SCHOOL curriculum.

Am I supposed to believe that the experience my fourth-grader is getting at school today is ANYTHING like the experience he would get by logging on from home?

Nope. His day starts at 8 a.m. with prayer in the courtyard, and from that moment until 3 p.m., I trust those amazing teachers to get inside his head and get him excited about math, science, and reading.

But those seven hours? They are 50 percent about the schoolwork, as far as I'm concerned. The other 50 percent of his time is spent learning how to get along with others, show respect for teachers and other adults, and adapt to social norms that will help him succeed in the real world.

I want him to recite a poem he memorized in front of class.

I want him to get picked as team captain in gym class and play his cards right when it comes to picking his team members, boys AND girls.

And I want him to get in trouble a bit, not because I want him to misbehave, but because I want him to feel the sting of authority once in a while. It's good for you.

You can't get that by logging into the fourth grade.

About the Author

Karie Dozer is host of Arizona's Noon News.

She has been an on-air personality nearly continually since her college days. She loves radio because it is intelligent, immediate and almost always available.

She is the youngest of nine children from a Midwestern Catholic family where she learned to be heard, fight for a place at the table and find humor in almost everything. She was hired as a news intern while a senior at ASU's Cronkite School, and found that covering human stories like the OJ Simpson white Bronco chase and the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns was too much fun to pass up.

She loved life in the newsroom with all the action and crazy personalities to go with it. She anchored and covered some sports too, until politics dragged her away. She served as press secretary for Arizona's Attorney General Grant Woods for a five-year stint before jumping back to radio on a part-time basis. Three years ago she got back in the biz on a more regular basis as a midday host on what is now KTAR News. She has a passion for the breaking news of the moment, education, local politics, great food, sports and fitness. She has trouble turning down a good argument, a good book or a good glass of wine.

In her spare time she takes care of her boys, (husband Rich, son Jack, and yellow lab Buddy,) and bakes awesome chocolate chip cookies. She enjoys the quality of life the Valley offers her family and the natural beauty of Arizona. Her favorite places are golf courses, her own kitchen, the city of Flagstaff, and wherever her family is.

She considers herself lucky to work with the amazingly talented people of KTAR radio.


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