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ERIC Number: EJ1003254
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0013-127X
Can Technology Replace Teachers? Quality Debated as Districts Tap Tech over Teachers
Quillen, Ian
Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, v78 n4 p4-10 Dec 2012
Of all the recent budget cuts made by the Eagle County, Colorado, school district, none sparked as much anger or faced the same scrutiny as the decision to cut three foreign-language teaching positions and replace them with online instruction. At a spring school board meeting, supporters of the targeted programs in French and German, as well as the affected teachers, railed against the district for replacing face-to-face instructors with a digital option they argued would not be as rich or as meaningful. The highly charged response reflects the fear many teachers are beginning to feel that technology could push them out of their jobs, especially in an era of persistently tight budgets. Emerging management models that rely on a smaller number of highly paid teachers supported by new technology and a larger roster of relatively low-paid paraprofessionals are also fueling such fears. Those worries seem likely to grow, even though younger teachers and many veterans appreciate the teaching potential of the Internet and digital devices, and educational technology advocates insist the teacher is still essential to any technology-based effort to improve schools. Nationally, union attitudes toward technology's impact on teachers appear more nuanced than simple opposition. In June, in an apparent endorsement of digital-learning practices, the American Federation of Teachers announced the launch of a digital-content repository designed to give members access to learning objects aligned to the Common Core State Standards. In Arizona, where more than 36,000 students enrolled in multi-district virtual schools during the 2010-11 school year, the state teachers' union has indicated that its concern is not virtual schools themselves, but their implementation in a district as a cost-saving measure. "Teachers get excited when you put these issues in terms of innovation and teaching students better," said Andrew F. Morrill, president of the Arizona Education Association. "Where teachers get sensitive is when teachers get the impression that the legislature is not concerned about quality." In Colorado's Eagle County, a perceived lack of quality in the online alternative appeared to rankle teachers, parents, and community members.
Prakken Publications. 832 Phoenix Drive, P.O. Box 8623, Ann Arbor, MI 48108. Tel: 734-975-2800; Fax: 734-975-2787; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona; Colorado; Idaho; New York