The Carpe Diem charter chain started in Arizona in 2012. Google the chain, and you will find articles praising the promise of this school where students sat in cubicles with a computer, looking like a call-center.
Flash forward to 2017, and it turns out that students don’t want to be taught in a call-center.
The Hechinger Report, which wrote about the promise of the charter when it opened, discovered that students don’t like “blended learning.”
“The Carpe Diem schools boasted about their commitment to academics, but they had a bare-bones approach that offered few extras – like a band or athletic teams. Students were often alone with a computer, headphones on, working on programs designed to offer custom-fit lessons that were neither too easy nor too hard. Teachers were there and available on the side for guidance and short, daily check-ins with students to discuss their performance. The student-to-teacher ratio was unusual: 226 students to five teachers and four teacher aides in 2012 at the Yuma school. From the beginning, teachers and students at the Yuma school said that self-motivated students were the ones who would do best.
“The Yuma schools initially posted high marks on state academic achievement tests. That early success prompted the expansion into the three other states.
“But the concept didn’t seem to appeal to a critical mass of students or parents. The new schools struggled, and even the Yuma school has been scrambling to sign students up. Low enrollment might be seen as a marketing problem if not for the fact that too often those who did sign up decided to leave.
“That is just a fundamental flaw,” Sommers said. “Kids just didn’t want to enroll, and when they did, they didn’t want to stay.”
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