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Idaho Adopts Khan’s Free Online Academy

Written by Gary North on January 4, 2013

The state of Idaho’s educational bureaucracy next year will allow public school students in two dozen schools to take Khan Academy’s free courses for full credit. This is a test.

This is a huge breakthrough for liberty. It means that a state has tentatively accepted the idea that online education that is provided by a legally independent third party who is not in any way under control of the state’s educational establishment may be as good as classroom education.

This means that the state has officially admitted publicly that a tuition-free digital education may be equal academically to a campus-based education that costs on average $11,000 a year in the United States.

This means that a teacher with no certification by an education department in any college may be equal to a certified teacher.

This means that the teachers’ union may not be academically indispensable.

This means that homeschooling may be as good as state-certified, tax-funded, campus-based education.

The students will probably do as well or better than students who do not use Khan Academy. Then what will the state’s educational bureaucracy do to keep this from spreading?

This is the first domino to fall. It will not be the last. Other states will follow.

This is a pass/fail test for public education. If Khan Academy passes, public education will officially fail.

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12 thoughts on “Idaho Adopts Khan’s Free Online Academy

  1. "If Khan Academy passes, public education will officially fail." It can't happen too soon.

  2. This is very good! I can hear the teachers' unions squalling any minute!

  3. Public education officially fail! Amin!

  4. Great. Do homeowners in Idaho get an offset on the portion of their property taxes ear-marked for education? Where I live the vast bulk of property taxes go to ensure public-school administrators get plenty of workshops, stratospheric salaries, off-days while they're in office, and lastly fat pensions when they eventually bail on the whole failed mess. Not to mention the palatial new school construction that is making some contractors very rich.

  5. this is going to take time in heavy union states. Lazy people who work do not want to loose their bon bons

  6. being a teacher is not work for the lazy. It is like running a marathon uphill, dodging federal and state bullets and roadblocks in your effort to bring a common sense cohesive education to kids who need it. A good teacher has to fight her own school system to do a good job for the kids, and the threats and arm twisting that happen are not for the feint of heart. Please do not include the teachers with the system, it is just a rogue for them as congress is for the voters.

  7. Texas Chris says:


  8. Texas Chris says:

    That's the question! I am convinced that the socialization of public school funding cemented the failure of that system. No accountability, no fiscal responsibility, guaranteed failure.

  9. Texas Chris says:

    Perhaps not. A child's education is a top priority to parents, and tax savings rank up there as well… Provide higher quality education at reduced (or no) cost, and families will flock.

    The opposite was true here in Texas: taxes soared and quality dropped, leading to the "great white flight" of families out of cities and into the country.

  10. Texas Chris says:

    A good teacher is totally wasted teaching in public schools. When that system finally fails, good teachers will name their prices, will have their own academies where they recruit promising students, and train promising teachers, without the meddling bureaucracies of city, county, state, and federal governments.

    Salman Kahn is one of these teachers. He is the proof.

  11. I thank you for saying what you did. I don't know why people are so down on teachers i.e. they are happy to go to their work which hopefully is at a good salary and most with good benefits and hopes of a pension. I am not a teacher and I live in Canada where the same thing goes on here. Why can't most people appreciate that teachers who look after their children and try to teach them the things they need in life to get on with life and by having the children in school hours each day free them up to get on with their work and making living. Its just beyond me – will they teach their children in the evenings when they get home from work and will they pay a babysitter to look after them while they are work. Just doesn't make any sense to me. We owe such a debt of gratitude to our teachers think what life was like before people went to school and learned to read and write. Just another example of the selfishness of those who complain ceaselessly about our teachers and envy them what they think is a secure and easy job. Its hardly an easy job – a huge proportion of children are good and wish to learn, but who would want to be dealing with the rest of the children who are spoiled, selfish, lazy, unmannerly and quiet often dangerous.

  12. geneww1938 says:

    I do not know the details! But I know a lot of home schooled adults, college and school students who out-perform publicly educated folk on every measurement scale. Beside their finer intellectual grasp of facts and how to apply them, their social deportment is impeccable.