Boise students petition against plan for online classes

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by Scott Evans / KTVB

NWCN.com

Posted on January 20, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 20 at 10:32 PM

BOISE -- Two students at Timberline High School in Boise want to see part of Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's "Students Come First" plan changed.

In an attempt to make that happen, the 16-year-old girls made petitions and are passing them out to fellow students.

But it's going beyond that.  These petitions are already at one other school and plans are to get them to eight junior high and high schools in the Boise School District.

The two high school juniors say they value their education and fear that online classes won't educate them as well as a teacher in a classroom.

When it comes to learning and education, the traditional classroom, desks, black or white boards, pencils and paper has been the norm.  But technology is changing and so is the classroom.

Luna wants to see high school students take at least two online classes a year.

Juniors Kelsie Kitz and Jilson Schlachter say that isn't the right way to further education.

"We felt that online classes were not of the same quality as classes we would take in school with teachers," said Kelsie.

They claim the online classes lack things like discussion and interaction.

"If it's optional that's OK. It's the student's own choice to take that class, but when it's required, I have a problem with that," said Jilson.

That's why the two straight 'A' teens put together this petition, protesting required online classes.

"We hope to just bring awareness to the fact that we do not like having to have online classes as a requirement, as an option, if we have an option to take online classes, that's a student's choice," said Jilson.

The fear is that the quality of their education will diminish and also damage their chances of getting into what they call "high-ranking colleges."

Kevin Kitz has watched his daughter Kelsie put this grassroots petition together in the middle of finals.

"Their very committed to their educations," said Kevin Kitz.  "They work hard and they are very worried that their, and their friends, and their sibling's educations are going to be hurt with this idea."

Kelsie and Jilson hope their petition will keep the traditional classroom the future, regardless of what technology has to offer.

"I do feel like we can make a difference," said Kelsie.

The Idaho Department of Education had this response to what Kelsie and Jilson are trying to do:

"The Students Come First plan will require Idaho high school students to take online courses each year to ensure they are prepared for the rigors of postsecondary education and the workforce. We know that colleges, universities and businesses across the country and here in Idaho expect students and employees to be able to learn and work in an online environment. Our students must be prepared to succeed in this world that awaits them."

Boise State University told us that 10 percent of their offerings are online classes and that number will only go up.

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