Sunday, April 28, 2013

2 Days Left to be BOLD

The BOLD initiative, sponsored by the AJE Project, The AVI CHAI Foundation, and the Kohelet Foundation, is offering grants to existing schools to implement Blended Learning

Schools have until 4pm this coming Tuesday to apply.

I still have a few questions that the BOLD website left unanswered.  These are not rhetorical questions that are intended to provoke skepticism.  These are genuine questions that if answered satisfactorily could allay some of the skepticism found on this blog & various other media.  Perhaps one of our readers can elucidate.

First, "schools have realized overall operating cost reductions of 25% and per pupil cost savings of $1000"  What does this mean?  Are these two separate cost savings, one per pupil and based on the total operating costs, that can be added up?  Why not simply combine them since most operating costs can be calculated per student.  If they are one and the same, just two different ways to calculate the same savings, $1,000 seems like a lot less than 25% based on the tuitions of most local schools.

Second, the following are listed as methods used by blended learning to reduce costs:

  1. Reducing and repurposing existing curricular and text budgets
  2. Redefining teacher and staff roles and reallocating personnel resources
  3. Increased class size coupled with greater personalization
  4. Increased student enrollment fostered by innovative programs and personalized learning

Could we see some specific examples of these methods being used at He'atid or other schools?  For item #1 are textbooks really a significant portion of the budget?  are they less than technology costs?  Doesn't the State partially subsidize them?

Are teachers doubling as administrators or vice versa as point #2 seems to suggest?  Are they doing it more than, say, Noam, which has always had administrators teaching a few subjects

For #3 are student teacher ratios significantly different at He'atid or other blended learning schools than they are at traditional schools?  Can we get some numbers on that?

For #4 does increased enrollment lead to lower costs per student?  What if the building is already at capacity or if more enrollment means you need to expand or move?