CARBONDALE, Kan. (KSNT) – Students walked out of the Carbondale School and other Santa Fe Trail school district locations in protest of a new teaching program.
On August 4, USD 434 announced it would implement the Summit Learning platform. According to the district’s website, the program will be used as the main instructional source in most core classes (math, social studies, science and language arts) in 6th-12th grades.
The program is free and is largely taught on computers. The district said Summit Learning is a research-based approach to education. It also offers schools to customize their curriculum, receive resources and technology tools and more. Supporters said students can get a more personalized learning experience and it lets them go at their own speed.
At the walkout, students chanted “save our teachers,” as some educators said they will be leaving their jobs because of the program.
“I’d like it to go back to the way it was because back then, it’s not just computers teaching you,” said Koyote Aguilar, an eighth-grader at the school.
“We shouldn’t be taught by computers. We should be taught by actual people,” Aguilar said.
The district made the switch to Summit in order to have one clear curriculum in the district and to improve test scores.
“We were not as good as we felt like we could be,” said Jim Lentz, USD 434 superintendent. “We felt like as we looked at those report cards that our students weren’t progressing the way they should in comparison to the rest of the state.”
Lentz said he has heard good and bad things about the program. He said the transition has been more difficult at the middle school level.
“Most of our teachers have taught in a different way for a long time, so we’re asking them to change a lot. Most of our students have learned in a different way and so we’re asking them to change a lot, so it is work, and it is hard,” Lentz said.
Lentz went to the walkout and listened to students’ and parents’ complaints. He requested that they also write them down so they can be considered in further detail.
You can read more about the Summit Learning platform below.