The following note -- submitted as a comment to "Education at its Worst," Amy Rankin's fierce cover story on White Hat Management's Ohio Distance & Electronic Learning Academy -- is from a student at Rankin's former school.
Hello. I am an OHDELA high school student. I would like to tell you what my normal school day is like at OHDELA. I am so frustrated and I see that this article gets a lot of responses from OHDELA teachers. I never can get a response from them, so maybe writing here will help me get some answers.
I wake up in the morning around 8am and have breakfast. My mom and dad leave for work and tell me to have a good day. I am left at home with my younger brother who is in middle school (at OHDELA) to complete my school work and help my younger brother with his school work if he needs it. My younger brother goes over to the television and starts to play Wii station. I got to my computer and try to log in. I cannot log in to my OHDELA classes, so I call the help desk and I am put into an answering machine. I leave my name and number so they can call me back. (I wait all day and no call back) I then call my math teacher to see if there is something I can work on offline because math is my hardest subject. Once again, I get an answering machine and I leave a message. I then called my English teacher who did answer and told me to call the help desk. (ROFLMAO) He also told me to read my book until the computer could get fixed. I tried to call my other teachers to see if there was an offline assignment that I could work on, and as always, I get put through to voice mail.(again...all day...no call back).
So, I read my book. I read until about 11:30. Getting bored of reading, I decided to try logging into my computer again. To my surprise, I can get into my OHDELA homepage. I feel a surge of excitment about learning, but when I click on my classes, I find that there are no assignments posted. There is no class there. So, I call my advisor and after three tries, she finally picks up the phone. She informs me that I am enrolled in the classes, but they are not ready. She told me they should be ready and online in a few days or so. At this point, I have waited over a week to get started on something other than reading my English books. I have no books other than my English books. My advisor told me that my books and things would arrive in 2-4 weeks. So, sometime in October, I may receive my other books. (I hope).
So, while my younger brother is still playing video games, I decided to walk my dog down to the corner store and back. When I get back, my younger brother tells me the phone rang but he did not get up to answer it. I check the message and it is someone at OHDELA telling me that I am truent because I have not logged any learning hours. I panic at this point and I decided to call my mom at work. She said she would call the school to clarify things. So, not knowing what to do, I grabbed the newspaper and read the comic section. I also see that Whitehat management is on the front page of the paper again. It is a story about how board members are being overpaid or being paid to say the name OHDELA. I did not understand the article, but I want to be paid to say OHDELA too. I then I made us some lunch.
After lunch, my grandma calls and asks if we are doing ok. I told her that we had no school work, so she came and took us to the grocery store with her. When we got home, my mom was on the phone with my advisor. My advisor wanted to know why I was not working on my work and my mom tried to explain. However, all the advisor could do was say call the help desk and told my mom to log some hours. My mom told her that I had no education hours because I had not completed any online work. So, my advisor told her to log the hours I spent reading my english book under english (ok). She also told her to log my walking the dog as gym hours, my grocery store trip with my grandma as math hours (because I compared prices in the store), to log making lunch under an elective, and to log video game playing under Science because we were playing a Science Fiction game. She said that it did not matter what was logged as hours, as long as I had them logged. It did not matter if they were educational hours or not. She said life is a learning experience. But my question is how will walking my dog to the corner help me pass the OGT which I have not passed in 3 tries.
So, another day in OHDELA has passed and still no learning. I am still a 10th grader (for the 3rd year) and I should be a senior. I have managed to earn a few credit last year at OHDELA, but I have a hard time completing my classes because my computer does not work most of the time and when it does, the classes are not right or are not there at all. Many times I need help with my classwork and I never can get help from my teachers. So, I cannot complete my assignments. No one ever answers their phone at OHDELA and rarely can I get help from any one. Then they label me as a non worker or trouble maker. I hate being in OHDELA. I want to go back to public school, where I will have the opportunity to learn something. I hate being home everyday by myself. I want my mom to put me back in my old high school.
So, since I have no classes today or nothing else to do, I thought I would leave my comment. Maybe I can log my comment as writing in my English class. The school year has started once again, and I feel like I will never get out of 10th grade because no one will help me. What do I have to do to get good classes and good teachers at OHDELA? Please help me before it is too late. I don't want to end up like my friends working at Taco Bell all of my life. Please.