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Student: How Edgenuity Ruined My Education

November 13, 2021

One of my seniors, Melanie Ulschak, mentioned her experience taking online classes. She added that during the 2020-21 school year, she had been enrolled in our Louisiana district’s virtual school, which used the Edgenuity platform, and which was a bust, to put it nicely.

I asked Melanie if she would write a guest post for my blog regarding her experience, and she agreed. I offered to post anonymously, and she said she preferred that I use her name. Below is her response.

How Edgenuity Ruined My Education

Melanie Ulschak 

When the pandemic hit, I was devastated. I lost my social outlet: school. I could no longer make random kids in class laugh, could no longer run in the hallways screaming, “It’s a great day to be a tiger, baby!” I lost my main source of human interaction all within one day.

After that loss, to my surprise, the next four months were fun. I got to sit at home, eat whatever I wanted, and I was paid $750 a week just because I lost my job during all this. I would go to Walmart with my best friend and buy whatever we wanted. I was also able to purchase my first car with savings from the pandemic. I really found myself living the good life, and I loved this temporary life that I was living.

But then came the time for us to go back to school, back to the place I have loved my entire life. I was so ready for junior year. I was ready to see my friends again, even if it meant wearing a mask. However, I was then informed that the doctor told my mother that she thought it would be best if I learned from home this year. She thought it was best if I stayed home and distanced myself from everyone considering the multiple medical conditions I suffer from.

We took the advice and enrolled in the virtual school my district offered. It was then that I met Edgenuity.

The day came for us to start classes– the day I wish would have never happened. The first few weeks were not bad. It seemed like virtual classes would be easy, that I would do my work and have the entire rest of the day off. Only problem is I never got to have the day off because I was in SEVEN online classes. This meant upwards of 2 hours of work per class, 10-15 assignments all due in one day. The work could be turned in late, but it piled up. I would catch up in one class to only now be behind even more in the next. It was exhausting. I resumed working a job and was supposed to be responsible for seven school classes. Now you might ask, “Well, wouldn’t you be at school at this time? What is so hard about sitting in front of a screen all day? You teens do it will your phone.” It is kind of hard for me to explain. Since I was a child I believed anything on the computer was either fun or not required to pass the grade. So why would this be any different?

Why would this year be different? Here’s why: I want every single one of you reading this try to sit in front of a screen and watch 7+ hours worth of videos, maybe even more. Then, I want you to answer the questions the impersonal assignments ask you without being able to go back and actually find the information you needed. Nothing to read, nothing to physically look at. Just a teacher on a Powerpoint reading to us what the Powerpoint says. These teachers I speak of? They weren’t even our real teachers, just videos, the same videos every single person received in the class. As for the real teachers, I was assigned to a teacher who had about 500 other students. Emailing theser teachers was a joke. I would email them and maybe get an email back 2-6 business days later. And that email back wasn’t ever guaranteed.

I once messaged my chemistry teacher asking for help. She called me out the blue and kept me on the phone for an hour. After the conversation was over, we never spoke again. She stopped answering my emails, my calls, any form of communication. She stopped answering everyone. All others in my class also lost all communication with her. We at first thought she died but later found out she was just not contacting us back. She watched all of us fail and did nothing about it.

There was nothing else I could do. My mother and I got into many fights because she’ “just wanted to help.” How can you help me watch 16 hours worth of videos to catch up, all because I had Covid, all because I missed 5 days of school work? How can you help me do that?

I had no one to help me.

Prior to the pandemic, I was an A/B student. I even left French my sophomore year because I thought a D was failing. I was in AP classes making good grades. All honors prior to the pandemic. Once Covid hit, so did virtual school, and in virtual school, I was making D’s. I was failing. I actually failed 3 classes. Some I chose to take again in summer school and still did not pass.

As we all know, Covid-19 is real. It kills people, makes us sick, and forces us to wear masks that make us hot. And Edgenuity? The platform is terrible. I hate it. It gave me such bad anxiety just thinking about the work. 

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7 Comments
  1. speduktr permalink

    What do you hope will happen as a result of her post? Anything? She has been cheated.

  2. Susannah Blum permalink

    As a teacher, I think the remote option cheated a lot of students. But I have had some interaction with Edgenuity. Never used it but know its products(at least knew them years ago). Is it the company and its programs itself or how the school she was enrolled in chose to use them? I think the bigger issue is more likely the school. I have seen teachers pile on a ton of work that was not appropriate, but parents think it is great because it looks so high level. The truth is, the parents are teaching the kids themselves by supporting them at home as they struggle through the work. Is that what the school is doing? Here, learn this all on your own, sink or swim. And in the end, for the children that remained and swam, the school claims victory in its methods. We need to have online schools regulated. They are all over the place.

  3. Kenneth A. Mortland permalink

    This is a sad commentary. We’re not told the actual relationship between Edgenuity and her school district. She makes no mention of the school district’s response to all of this. It seems reasonable to infer that, as an A/B student taking AP classes, she is a strong student. If strong students can encounter these difficulties and not get the help she needed, both the district and Edgenuity are at fault. Compound that by several thousand districts that use blended or full time online services and we’re looking at a huge negative impact on America’s students. And the regular, brick/mortar teachers are not part of this equation, as they’ve been taken out of the loop. So, it’s inappropriate to try to blame these problems on teachers’ unions.

  4. hi my names makya im in edgenuity right now and i feel exactly how you do im at home and i work on edgenuity i have no teachers to help me i work myself i have to catch up on 8 classes because my school didnt have virtual learning took them 2 months to get me virtual. Not only that but they are making me catch up on assignments in every class. 130 assignments for each class. at the start i was like great okay i got this. but it just keeps adding assignments everyday i emailed the teacher they said its not them they dont know what is going on. i went from 130 to 110 in one day the next day i had 17 more assignments added and it just kept adding more and more each day. i told my parents about it and everything. im at home so it can be distracting like with my phone elelctronics all of that. i was still doing my work but in between assignments i would get distracted and my parents got mad at me about that. i usually have that point in the year where i start messing up a little every year and my parents always talk to me about it but this year i wasnt messin up bad with my grades it was how long i would take on soe assignments. so my dad said in order to get this done you gotta push through ad i said ok i will. But they want me to do 15 to 20 assignments a day and its too much. because i have to watch the videos take notes and answer questions in between and im not aloud to do any less then 15 and im struggling its overwhelming i have another class with another 130 assignments to catch up on.so im trying to hurry and finish this one but they want me to do both rn and i cant multi task like that. i dont know what to do i have no teachers no help and it just keeps adding assignments and their saying its not them.but whos adding these assignments and why would you add to my already missing work i i know theres work to do everyday but i cant freaking keep up learn and do work if its adding over and over again im not ready for this other class and the issues that will follow. my brain is overflowing with things right now. Im trying to work as fast as possible but i cant so what do i do?! please someone tell me how do i make the adding stop.

    • Melanie permalink

      Hello honey. Sadly there is no way to stop the work from coming in… I have found the only way I get the classes done is by picking a day, deciding how much work I will do, and get it done. If that means staying up and losing all sleep then so be it because we can not fail! That is what works best for me:) I am currently in 2 classes and will be taking 2 next semester. I wish you nothing but the best and all I can say is that it does end! You just have to really put in the work at the last minute. I hope all is well with you and you get everything done soon!

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