Opt out of Summit Learning

  • Opinion piece published in the Indiana Gazette
  • Feb 19, 2018 Updated Feb 19, 2018

Parents of fifth- and sixth-graders in the Indiana Area School District are being asked to opt in or out of Summit Learning. Summit Learning is a computer/internet-based learning system, developed in California, that is to take the place of textbooks and traditional classroom teaching in all major subjects. As a parent of a sixth-grader I found Summit to have three mortal flaws.

First, in its current form, there is no real data as to whether or not it works. We are effectively experimenting with our children’s education with an unproven product.

Second, as there are no paper nor electronic textbooks, learning is accomplished in snippets of texts and with the student being bounced around to different unrelated websites on the internet to view videos and written material. As there is no reference that takes the child from A to Z, children are not encouraged to think deeply but in these snippets. As the materials are scattered, it also effectively alienates parents from any involvement with their children’s learning.

Lastly, Summit politicizes the formerly safe place of a public school setting. Your child will be led to the conclusion that Columbus Day should be done away with due to Columbus committing genocide. Historical figures (of course of Summit’s choosing) will be put on mock trial to see if they are worthy of their position in history. In math class, faux letters will be written to representatives as to whether fines (such as speeding tickets) should be made fairer by basing them on one’s income. Also in math class, children will do problems on whether it is “fair” for shorter swimmers or runners to have to compete against taller ones, and asked if this should be changed in the Olympics.

Two videos so far this year have had to be taken down for inappropriate sexual content. Summit’s world view will be impressed on your child not just in one class, in one grade, but in multiple classes, for multiple years.

Before enrolling your child in an experimental, fractured and politicized learning platform, please think carefully.

Thomas Trevorrow, M.D.