Arrested Development: Costs of Distance Learning on the Future

With schools around the country examining their options on how to educate despite the ongoing pandemic, it is critical to take a clear look at the potential impact of moving to distance learning. The effects of distance learning on the local community will be measured in decades not years. The returns on education are cumulative over the course of a person’s lifetime and impact far more than the individual alone. One might suspect that the sudden reorganization of our schooling infrastructure into distance learning will not yield the same level of quality as years previous. But what can current research tell us about this achievement gap between the students who will distance learn this year and the counterfactual brick-and-mortar schooling they would otherwise receive?

A 2011 paper by Raj Chetty suggests a good elementary teacher can increase a student’s lifetime earnings by up to 1% each year, because good teachers help students strengthen their social skills and character traits, in addition to teaching the material. Over the course of a career, that difference can spiral into hundreds of thousands of dollars of lifetime earnings, which in turn can be the difference between a community attracting investment or stagnating and backsliding.

Can these non-cognitive skills be passed on remotely? Can a teacher bring two students together to resolve conflict when there is extraordinarily little social interaction happening under her eye? Can a remote school provide good examples and a sense of belonging through civil rites? The answer seems obviously to be no. So, the value of good elementary teachers as leaders of civic virtue will be lost for distance learners this year, and 2020 will initiate the first catastrophic step backward in education in this country’s history.

Socialization effects are one thing, but what can we expect from academics? Unfortunately, the picture there inspires little hope. Graduation rates at virtual charter schools hover around 50% compared to the public-school average of 84%, according to a 2019 analysis from the National Education Policy Center. While the defenders of virtual charter schools say they are helping disadvantaged students, their detractors point out that virtual schools are enrolling a lower rate of low-income students than national brick-and-mortar schools. There is no reason to adjudicate this dispute now, but it is possible that students who enroll in virtual charters for some reason were having a hard time “making it” in a brick and mortar environment, regardless of their socioeconomic status, say because of behavioral issues or a teen pregnancy. Perhaps, but this defense still points to the importance of the social dynamics of school which coerce otherwise failed students to hand in those three missing assignments that will allow them to skirt by with a ‘D.’ Maybe the difference between these two hypothetical students is only social, not academic. But the academic and communal aspects of school are linked, and having the right social environment makes learning Algebra possible.

Consequently, we should expect distance learners to have achievement levels closer to virtual charter schools than to the public-school average. And hence the academic losses will be severe. The National Education Policy Center’s 2019 report on virtual schools cites a half-dozen statewide reports each revealing lower achievement on statewide tests for reading and especially mathematics. A similar deficit seems highly likely for 2020-2021, a year in which Spring quarter came to a screeching halt, summer offered few remedial educational programs, and Fall will return many students to distance learning without all the added benefits of three quarters of rapport and camaraderie within the classroom as happened last year. Digital truancy and absenteeism have already proven hard to stop and remedial help harder to provide.

If these deficiencies are not addressed before graduation, graduation rates will fall. According to Lochner and Moretti’s 2004 study the societal benefit of a 1% increase in male graduation rates is worth more than $2 billion. With graduation rates poised to go other direction, we may see devastating long-term effects on the local community. Opportunities for continued education and better jobs will shrivel up as the achievement gap among students becomes palpable. The second order effects will include poorer families, increased criminality, and a decrease in ability to adapt and contribute to our complex society.

However, this gloomy picture is not our fate. Online charters typically have high student-teacher ratios and low engagement. Since teachers are teaching their normal group of students, teacher-student ratios will not become worse. Schools still have many resources to bring to students’ neighborhoods. Remedial help might be offered in person. Perhaps, some social capital from years previous will carry over and mitigate the losses. And many of the students in these classes will know each other and will certainly be spending their afternoons playing together. Already many schools, like Macomb Illinois Public School, are bussing food to families twice a day. All these things could help, but parents will be stressed, supervision scarce, and the many cracks in our systems threaten to become fateful chasms.

There is still hope that schools will find ways to test and trace, that lockdowns will become dynamic and based on community spread of the virus, that a daily testing regime will surface allowing us to measure whether individuals are infectious, and that districts will support remedial help for those who quite literally need their hands held. For years, staunch public-school advocates have declared the irreplaceability of the traditional model, given its better educational outcomes than distance learning, especially for disadvantaged students, and teachers have been building their pedagogies on social-emotional learning which requires in-person interaction to be most effective. Now is a good time to try to maximize the public schools’ capacity to provide quality education, despite necessary restrictions.

At the same time, this unfortunate disruption opens new opportunities for us as a society to experiment and build better educational models (in the full sense of that word: ‘educational’) and to work with our local communities to make systems which suit them. In the future, we will see far more hybrid schools which blend brick-and-mortar instruction with at-home practice, microschools which gather students into small educational groups with a professional facilitator, homeschooling pods and co-ops as thousands of people have already joined Facebook groups with the intent to homeschool in the past few months. Both parents and educators will be iterating over these models, fashioning them from the ground up to rebuild civil society, improve academic accomplishment, and prepare the way for greater social flourishing. The wreckage in education might be severe, but resolute communities who find a way to educate anyway will become the new leaders in America.

Origins of the House System

There is no better way to perpetuate and reinforce brutal high school social hierarchy and favoritism than with a house system. That, at least, was my first experience of houses as a high school student. There were four houses which would compete in three projects a year upon which they would be judged and given points. In addition, teachers could give and take away points at will. Favoritism was rife, the ad hoc character of the program was extremely evident even to this fairly dense participant. Seeing people get rewarded for random things and fail to get punished for others served to heighten the sense of cosmic injustice that I felt was becoming a ubiquitous feature of my world. If I had read Harry Potter, I would have known that the Wizarding World suffered from a similarly high level of under-evolved social reward mechanisms.

However, despite the wretchedness of the system I was a part of, I still felt some love and solidarity for my house. It was one of few instances where I was able to hang out with students above my grade level and work alongside them on a project. When the program was disbanded, I felt it was the rightful death of terribly dysfunctional system. Nonetheless, wistful waves of nostalgia stopped me from rejoicing. When I set out to create a House System myself it began with one grade level. A teacher and I decided to split the freshman class into three groups for competitions. Between the two of us we taught this group over half of their courses, so by dividing them up into semi-permanent groups we would have ready-made teams which could compete for points that would accumulate across all four classes. There was no way to lose points, each game had the rules for points laid out beforehand, and the teams were designed by myself and the other teacher.

We created three teams because three divides into more numbers than four and because teams of four would be too small within a grade level. That was the beginning. In those days we had a lot of fun socially engineering the teams in different ways as my fellow teacher and I would switch up student teams each quarter. But the ultimate form of the house system was a random draw of the cards. The key reason for this was that we feared that any system which allowed for partiality would end in partiality. I didn’t want people seeing the house they were selected into as the arbitrary whim of a human, but like the Sorting Hat’s Song and pronouncement, something outside of human hands. Trust to the heart of the cards, to Providence.

Reading A Cooperative Species alerted me to social concepts of fairness and reward in behavioral economics. A key takeaway for me was that in iterated games people would tend towards cooperation and that people are generally altruistic if they are recognized for their altruism and see free riders get punished. It was around these ideas that I tried to fashion the official House System.

The first rule in my mind was that everyone had to have equal opportunity for points. Thus, points could only be acquired through clearly defined rules: like an A on a test or essay, taking the SAT, working on the Virtue of the Month project, winning in a classroom game. There would be no way to lose points. This would be a system for positive reinforcement only.

The second rule was to actually tell students when they received points, either orally or in writing. It is hard to be motivated or feel positive reinforcement from rewards you didn’t know you received. In addition, the house points total had to be public knowledge so that students who, for example, received an A on a test would both see the mark of PLUS ONE POINT on the paper and see the number on the BIG BOARD rise. In this way, individual excellence helps the whole team.

The third rule was being on the lookout for free riders. I have only been able so far to punish one level of free-rider: the egregious foot dragger, i.e. students who don’t show up to house (or are perpetually late). The secretary of each house brings me an attendance sheet afterwards so that I can discipline students who are late (or if you prefer verbosity “use self-reflective behavioral alteration techniques to encourage positive socialization”).

Each of the Three Houses has three months for which they create activities promoting the Virtue of the Month by any means they can. The House as whole receives points for the inventiveness and effectiveness of their virtue program.

In practice, I knew that this would go poorly the first few years as students had to be coached towards making the system work. And indeed, there is still lots of room for improvement (I will discuss the numerous weaknesses in a moment). One key innovation in the past two years having each house elect officers which then make up the Student Council. This created a group of mobilizing agents who have enough clout to encourage their peers to participate and get things done for their house, like homeroom cleanup at the end of the day.

Students (usually elected members) sometimes come to me and say that their house is too chaotic, that “no one cares” about the house, and that they can’t get anything done. The students are basically right about this, except on one point: the exaggerated “No one”. At least, 60% of students want their house to be the best (or at least better), are willing to do extra work to make it so, and feel some self-righteous belonging with their house. In addition, they like that they have the opportunity to mix with students who are not in their classes. So I tell them, “Yeah, the House System doesn’t motivate everyone, and it does need improvement. But it is motivating for a good number of students, and we can bring that number up if we fix the problems.”

Now here are the current problems:

1) Teachers do not give house points to students for doing well on tests and such. If every teacher just wrote to students when they gave them feedback +1 House when they deserved it and let me know, then students would receive a lot more points and the competition would feel more real.

2) The Virtue of the Month activities can get hung up by a lack of organization or ideation on the part of the students.

3) Scores are not updated to the big board quickly. This is exacerbated by the low level of teacher participation, which disincentivizes me from updating the scores.

I think these problems can all be remedied. But it is difficult to make the process streamlined enough to improve upon it. My current view of the house system is very positive. This past year students ran almost the entire thing themselves. There is still an immense amount of room to make the student experience better, but after four years, we are close to making a system which students can be very proud of.

Classical Education and Industrial Civilization: A New Course

Nearly all of the Founding Fathers of the United States, with the notable exception of Ben Franklin who was sui generis and brilliant and in fact still serves my point despite not being what at the time was an “educated man,” looked to the Classics for practical wisdom. By practical wisdom, I mean neither technical guidance nor some philosophical ruminations deduced from axioms and postulates, but rather something harder to grasp: the wisdom that comes from dealing with the messiness of reality. They believed that by studying the political, historical, and philosophical works of antiquity light could be shed upon their own situation so that they could master it. Their purpose was not merely to understand history but to make it, to intervene in it. At its best, history gives us both who we are, where we have come from, and the tools we need to intervene in it.

When I was a confused youth, I believed in what might be called philosophical wisdom. I had this caricature in my head of Cicero who studied philosophy in his youth and thus was fit to rule in old age. I would commit my youth to the intellectual life and my adulthood to leadership, like Cicero. In fact, I knew nothing about Cicero. But I believed in the myth of Cicero and myth of the ideal Roman who worked in the fields all day, traveled late into town to debate politics, and returned home still later to eat a bowl of black gruel. I hoped that my study of philosophy would make me a great debater of affairs of state, someone who could cut the Gordian knot of any problem. And while it is true, so true, that philosophy does not cease rewarding those who study her, for Aristotle was right to say that contemplation of true things is one of the finest pleasures of life, there was another part of Aristotle I had somehow missed.

In Book 6 of the Ethics, Aristotle makes a distinction between practical wisdom and philosophical wisdom. Philosophical wisdom is the search for truth, contemplation of it, and enjoyment of ideas. Reading Isaac Newton’s Principia is an intoxicating Caribbean cruise for the philosophical mind. But philosophical wisdom is in some sense transcendent, our enjoyment of it is an intensely individual experience. The positive benefits of such study in other ways are far enough downstream from the study itself, that the person who partakes must primarily be motivated by a sense of wonder, not a sense of strict efficiency (though oftentimes the long way round is the only way!). Philosophy requires time and there is no law of the universe that all philosophical wisdom will have public utility. Practical wisdom on the other hand is directed more towards public utility. Aristotle describes it as the capacity to calculate and act with respect to the goods of human affairs. It is practical wisdom that discovers and implements better management strategies, improved processes for construction, discovers medicines, and secures the common good.

I have said before that classical civilization is the perfect sandbox for students to play around with the primary questions and concepts of civilization. The Greek and Roman world is of a manageable complexity, distant yet familiar, something we can both approach with impartiality and yet make our own. And more than this, understanding the rise and fall of the classical world teaches us valuable lessons about the hard work of building, preserving, and extending civilization. The early Americans fostered their own practical wisdom out of study of the classics, recent history, and personal experience with law and mercantilism. What will we find in the classics to help us today? There is always something.

Practical wisdom today in industrialized civilization needs both the wisdom of the classics and the wisdom of the present. Today’s world is extremely complicated. How many of today’s problems are caused simply because the world is complex, and many people were not taught how to navigate it? Building, preserving, and extending present civilization cannot happen without educators taking the herculean effort to get a grip on industrialized society and fill the gap between modern history and modern science with practical wisdom. This is work that has yet to be done. While it has been proposed that we need a new science of progress, another way to see the problem is that we need more people who can teach us both how to thrive amidst the complexity, maintain the fragile good things we have achieved, and build towards something better and higher. We need to teach people to deliberate well about what is good and expedient for themselves and society, not just with regard to health or wealth say, but about what sorts of thing conduce to the good life in general. This task is hard, and it is well past time to begin.

Or to put it in old Ben Franklin’s jovial pithiness, “I find the best way to serve God is by serving my fellow man.” This from a newspaper printer whose contributions to civilizational progress included everything from a guide on how to swim, to roasting a turkey with electricity, to founding a fire brigade, a militia, and a library, and hosting a Constitutional Convention.

Hybrid Resilience

At JPII our snow days are work from home days. The work is a little lighter than a normal at-home work day, and teachers have to make sure a little new content with practice still gets presented. However, the occasional snow day gives teachers, parents, and students practice at remote learning. Having a system in place for remote learning is another way in which the hybrid model proves flexible and resilient.

Even when separated by distance our community hangs together and keeps learning and growing.

Innate Curiosity is not Innate Desire for Mastery.

Many people, teachers, parents, and students are innately curious – they love learning. At least we all love learning some things. It is such a disappointment when curiosity is squashed instead of nurtured. We have to nurture curiosity as much as we can, however natural curiosity is not enough to help a student become the free and responsible adult we want him or her to become. She needs guidance and practice and direction.

There is no innate human drive to master stoichiometry or read Latin poetry. Educational culture is necessary. A community must come together and give esteem and encouragement and praise for learning these things. This is why many students need classmates to excel – shared experience is foundation of culture. Rare is the student who is driven to master any subject which is set before him. Most of us require a mix of motivations to achieve excellence and virtue. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Tiny Book Reviews for 2019

2019 has been my best year for reading yet.

    1. The Craft of Intelligence by Allen Dulles. Former CIA director talks about spy-craft. His biases were readily apparent, but nonetheless detracted from the work. Many of the stories were amusing and harrowing. Sometimes Dulles gets annoyingly preachy. But the book was still useful.
    2. Looking for Alaska by John Green. Not similar at all to my boarding school experience, except for the lack of competent counseling and supervision and an uninspiring campus culture. Decent book, still managed to stir some nostalgia for me. Moral: don’t send you child to boarding school.
    3. The Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. The first half of this book was quite a drag to read, but the second half was brilliantly constructed and beautifully done. A good journey.
    4. The Mediterranean in the Age of Philip II Book 1 by Fernand Braudel. A most dense and awe-inspiring work of history, breathtaking views of a wide and diverse Mediterranean world. His grand sweep is informed by thousands of little details. Unlike some authors who write “Big History” like Sapiens which always turns out to be a monist view of some single or few aspects of history and humanity, Braudel tries to capture the whole, not just a model of the whole. Recommended for the right reader.
    5. Politics by Aristotle. The most surprising and delightful thing about Politics is how many different genres it spans. How did I not know there was a discussion of collective ownership in here or urban planning? The breadth of examples poleis is surprising also: Carthage, Thurii, Syracuse, Sparta. Highly Recommended.
    6. Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder by Nassim Taleb. A highly entertaining read and intellectually therapeutic. Though I abhor Taleb’s vendetta slinging persona, I also can enjoy his honest aggression from a safe distance. It’s a guilty pleasure. The book offers countless insights into optionality and nonlinear systems. Highly Recommended.
    7. Gulag Archipelago Abridged (some) by Alexsandr Solzhenitzen. This book was awesome and awful and depressing. Eventually, I couldn’t read any more, because I became inured to the horror. “Yeah, wow, that’s awful” spoken 10,000 times. I read part of the unabridged book 1, and I liked that a bit more because it had more history in it. Part of Solzhenitzen’s project is to show that the violence of communism was not some unfortunate accident that could have gone differently, but to show that the regime depended upon injustice and violence as part of its very survival. Connecting ideology to outcomes is always extremely hard to show. If it can’t be done in the USSR case, it can’t be done at all. Recommended for the right reader.
    8. The Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch. I strongly agree with her critiques of high stakes testing, but her arguments against voucher systems, school choice programs, and charter schools is much weaker and overly relies upon arguing against the politics of people in favor, as opposed to the policies and outcomes themselves. She tries to connect political ideology to outcomes, and as Gulag shows, this can be quite difficult. This book half-ends up being a political action piece more than a popular, but well-researched document, from which to learn new things about American schooling. I recommend her other book below instead.
    9. The Transformation of the School by Lawrence Cunningham. It’s the history of the progressive education movement from 1856 – 1957. This book about the history of education reform was amazingly helpful and insightful. I loved it and want to follow up on a lot of its footnotes.. Recommended for the right reader.
    10. The Troubled Crusade by Diane Ravitch (To be Continued). I started this but had to return it to the library. It was awesome and illuminating. I will finish it this year.
    11. Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card. Not nearly as good as Ender’s Game. Speaker for the Dead stands head and shoulders above the rest of the books here. Still a fun read.
    12. Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip Tetlock. Amazing and interesting insights into decision-making and prediction. I use some these insights in grading and predicting outcomes in my day job. Highly recommended.
    13. Starting from Paumonok by Walt Whitman. Beautiful poems in honor of America. Highly recommended.
    14. Iron Curtain (some) by Anne Applebaum. I started this around the same time as Gulag for context. It’s also quite grim.
    15. Euler’s Gem (in progress) by David Richeson. This book about networks
    16. The Waste Lands by Stephen King. The third book in the Dark Tower Trilogy doesn’t fail to disappoint. Unfortunately, it ends on a cliff hanger. But Charlie was worth it.
    17. Expert Political Judgment: How Good is it? How Can We Know? By Philip Tetlock. The progenitor of Superforecasting, this book reveals how awful political analysts generally are at predicting political events, even though their assessment direct billions of dollars of defense spending. If we even became 5% better at political risk assessment, we could save hundreds of millions of dollars.
    18. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Stunningly poignant depiction of some of America’s characters and personalities. Highly relatable, deeply subtle. I can’t believe 8th graders read this book. The pain lurking just below the surface is paralyzing to this adult. But “deep pain below the surface?” That’s the story of America.
    19. The Book of Why: The New Science of Causes by Judea Pearl. Horribly written, and obviously the work of two authors who didn’t work the product into a fine final form, but important and engaging ideas nonetheless. It’s probably better to read Pearl’s book Causality instead which I haven’t read, or Causal Diagrams in Social Sciences, which I have. Still, if one is serious about forecasting, prediction, or rational thinking, this is a good pickup.
    20. How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler. When I was in college I couldn’t read this book because I was not humble enough. Today, it provides many insights to make reading more pleasurable, useful, and intensely enjoyable.
    21. The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. This was my first time reading it. I wasn’t knocked away. But I appreciate the Rowling universe and think it is criminally underrated by the detractors.
    22. Good Strategy, Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt. An actually good book about business strategy. The anecdotes are also original and interesting. Highly recommended.
    23. Pedro Paramo by Luis Rulfo. A kind of ghost story in a Mexican village. It’s literary fiction in both a good way and a bad way. Oddly satisfying.
    24. Insight by Bernard Lonergan (in progress). Still plugging away at this magnificent tome. Unfortunately, I have been taken in by the Lonergan fever and am already indebted to his metaphysics. This book works out in detail philosophical problems I have been contemplating for three years. Love it.
    25. Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson. A decent biography of an excellent person, from whom there are many lessons worth taking.
    26. De Anima by Aristotle. When people think about Aristotle, they think boring proto-science person who believed wrong things. But when you read Aristotle, it’s more like reading the blog of a deeply intelligent freelance scientist. De Anima is extremely thought-provoking and concerns issues for which consensus answers still don’t exist.
    27. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. An amazing novel. The character of Porfiry Petrovich is horribly delicious. Reading this book while having a fever would be insane.
    28. The Insect World of J. Henri Fabre (in progress). Never have I sat on the edge of my seat for the fate of a train of caterpillars or dropped my jaw at evolutionary brilliance of wasps. Here it is though. An amazing book so far.
    29. The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power (some). Appointed ambassador in ’08 this memoir gave some helpful insight into the processes and attitudes of a highly effective lady I respect.

Podcasts of honorable mention:

History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps by Peter Adamson. Always good.

Revolutions by Mike Duncan. Along the lines of Braudel in its effect. Listen to the details of historical revolutions and come to understand the nature of political discontent across time. My favorite revolutions have been the English, Haitian, and the 1848 year of revolution. The currently ongoing Russian Revolution is amazing, but I might be noticing a decline in primary text and telling details which is a pity.

80000 Hours by Rob Wiblin. Amazingly long interviews, some of which are amazing, and all of which have extremely useful, detailed transcripts.

Conversation with Tyler by Tyler Cowen, the best and most efficient interviewer, managed to get Jordan Peterson to sound fresh and allowed himself to be owned time and again by the august Margaret Atwood. Transcripts are available for power users.

How is Classics related to Classical Education?

Classics is the academic field devoted to the study of the Greco-Roman world. One of the amazing things about studying classics and, I have found this, being a classicist myself, is the immersive quality of classics. When a person studies classics, they become immersed in languages, philosophy, politics, economics, mathematics, rhetoric, art, architecture, religions, cults, and scores of great and awful men and women. Students who climb this stair come to see how many little decisions create both the big picture and all the subtle flavors of a civilization.

Classical antiquity, both because it is fundamental to our civilization’s history and because it is so far removed from us, makes it uniquely suited for educational purposes. I don’t need to rehearse all the ways that the Mediterranean ancient world is relevant today. Here we find breakthroughs in philosophy and science, the spread of Judeo-Christian religion, democracy and republican government, challenging and stunning literature and rhetoric, and two languages which ground the technical and scientific vocabulary of today. But in addition to their relevance, the distance between us and the Greeks liberates our assessment of them, making us more impartial and thus better judges. To study politics and government in the Greek and Roman world gives students and teachers enough distance from contemporary issues that teachers can host and truly foster civil debate and discussion in a low stakes environment. Since we want to teach students how to think about life in society, we must offer them the opportunity to critique and debate, to defend propositions and attack policies, employing reason to its fullest extent without anyone’s identity being on the line. In this way classical studies becomes a sandbox for learning how to reason about hundreds of elements within society, offering grand riches from which to draw.

Classical antiquity serves an essential role in classical education. It is our first step, not our last. In most schools 9th grade is the classical year: Ancient Literature, Ancient History, Geometry, and Scripture. History, literature, and religion march through time arm in arm, and these courses constantly reinforce and cast new light upon each other. Humanity did not cease in 500 A.D. and so classical education continues its historical progression while preserving a coherent curriculum. By keeping the course of study coherent, we bring the same level of seriousness and depth to the study of the other civilizations in our curriculum.

Hybrid Schools and Teaching Staff

Maintaining a core teaching staff at a hybrid school requires a unique political economy. While in practice, hybrid schools have low tuitions because they only hire teacher for 3-days of instruction and rent space for three-days at a time, teachers are still putting in many hours of prep work, prep work which seems to scale nonlinearly according to how many classes are taught.

For example: 1 class might require 5 hours per week from a teacher. 2 classes – 12 hours. 3 classes – 14 hours. 4 classes – 20 hours. Of course, these figures largely depend on the individual teacher but based upon my small dataset, all teachers experience weird nonlinear effects in time-expenditure by class – each in their own way.

For myself, this manifests most when I turn my attention to lesson planning. In that mode, there is basically always more time I could spend on honing my lessons, not just in terms of content, but in terms of delivery, and fostering an ever better learning environment to maximally affect students’ minds, hearts, and educational culture.

Being paid by instructional hours doesn’t take into account these effects, and it keeps the administration in the dark about how much time teachers are spending. When the administration doesn’t know what is happening with the teachers’ time, teachers will feel undervalued. Value-added payment structures at hybrid schools should be developed and tested. We might get useful results.

Advantages of the 3-Day Model for High School Students

Here are some observations about the advantages of home-day work in a 3-day model.

  1. Students have 67 days each year to iteratively improve time-management skills.
  2. Students have more time to read and write than they otherwise have, which perhaps means our students have read and written more than similar students.
  3. The school environment is not a totalizing force in the students’ lives. They and their parents have more options to create their own schedules, choose their extracurriculars, and join groups which are composed of people other than their peers in school.

There are some tradeoffs too. But these are some effects I have seen in the past five years.

To be continued…