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Miami-Dade public schools using virtual classroom software to meet class-size restrictions

January 25, 2011

(Picture by Max Wolfe)

While I never thought of virtual classrooms for meeting class size reduction caps, Miami-Dad public schools are doing just that.

“In an effort to adhere to guidelines limiting the number of students allowed per public school classroom, 54 Miami-Dade schools are turning to virtual classroom technology in an era of massive cutbacks and teacher layoffs. #

The move, apparently a result of the 2002 Class Size Reduction Amendment that was vindicated by voters who overwhelmingly rejected Amendment 8 last November, replaces traditional instruction provided in core courses by a teacher with computer software overseen by “facilitators” who monitor progress and provide technical support. The new classrooms, dubbed “e-learning labs,” effectively sidestep the class cap requirements and allow for upwards of 40 students. #

According to The New York Times: #

School administrators said that they had to find a way to meet class-size limits. Jodi Robins, the assistant principal of curriculum at Miami Beach High, said that even if students struggled in certain subjects, the virtual labs were necessary because “there’s no way to beat the class-size mandate without it.” More…

Here’s a response to the initial article I mention above, which provides some balance and context.

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