Tuesday, August 5, 2014

rigorous virtual schools and spaghettification

A quick Google search of rigorous virtual schools will supply you with the following:

1. It is the RVS mission to provide a rigorous, college-preparatory online school . . .

2. Our mission at Temecula Advantage Virtual School is to . . . by providing a rigorous virtual . . .

3. TEC Connections Academy will . . . promote DESE's mission by providing a rigorous, effective virtual . .

4. Lake County Virtual School provides a rigorous curriculum . . .

Now, look up the definition of rigor and it aligns itself with words such as: strict, inflexible, severe, uncomfortable, and even cruel.

Why do virtual schools like to use the word rigorous when it carries with it such negative terms? What they will tell you is in the realm of education, rigorous means challenging. And, that is fine as long as they are speaking to their peers. The question is -- how many parents understand that? What about the students? Or, do they associate the word more with its Merriam-Webster definition?

In astrophysics the word spaghettification is the vertical stretching and horizontal compression of objects into long thin shapes but has nothing to do with the pasta (other than it looks like a noodle). Other scientists will naturally understand this which is fine as long as the astrophysicist speaks only to her peers. However, what if she were speaking to an audience of parents? Would they understand her talk? Or, would they simply envision a pasta noodle and wonder what spaghetti has to do with astrophysics?

I wonder what parents envision when they continually hear the word rigorous?


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