IQ Academy great but not best [UPDATED]Published 10:10am Wednesday, March 27, 2013 Updated 12:11pm Wednesday, March 27, 2013
The Fergus Falls Public School’s online option has grown steadily since it was launched in 2008, and its enrollment recently surpassed 500 students in grades K through 12.
While IQ Academy is great for the school district from an economic and reputation standpoint, we do not believe it is the best educational option for the vast majority of students.
It is easy to get scared away by the numbers when test scores are considered. Last year, only 10.6 percent of IQ Academy students tested “proficient” or better on a state standardized math test. Kennedy Secondary School had 61.3 percent of its students reach that mark.
This is not the primary reason for concern, however. Students who take online classes are often those who may otherwise drop out, and we like the idea of providing a different option that might turn an education around for some.
We believe, however, that IQ Academy should be an option only if brick-and-mortar schooling doesn’t work out. The best learning will almost always take place in an environment where students can interact with other students and teachers. Social skills and communication are lessons that are learned naturally by most students in a traditional school environment. We are especially skeptical of IQ Academy’s growing enrollment of students in grades K through 6.
Students who have serious commitments outside of school like taking care of a child, ongoing medical issues or involvement in an activity at an elite level are perfect candidates for online schooling. While there are various cases where IQ Academy makes sense, we think brick-and-mortar schools should always be option number one.