May 1, 2011  

Education technology

Online programs that use state-of-the-art education technology represent a promising venue for officer educational development, as retired Col. Gwynne Burke suggests (“A better way to educate,” AFJ, March).

The remarkable learning efficiency that the best of these programs offer, rooted in their ability to differentiate instruction for individual students based on their real-time responses, approaches that of the strongest classroom teachers. Combined with the increased access they provide to instructors who offer specific, valuable expertise, the advantages are formidable.

For these reasons, it is unfortunate that most military recruiters continue to consider students who graduate from full-time public virtual high schools as Tier 2 applicants. These graduates complete all state graduation requirements, frequently with results well above their peers graduating from traditional high schools. This inconsistent treatment not only denies opportunities to a growing population of students (currently over a quarter million across the United States) to serve their country’s military service, but deprives the services of high-quality candidates. A thorough review of these policies would be both timely and beneficial.

Don Soifer

Executive Vice President

Lexington Institute

Arlington, Va.