toronto star

If Life is Like High School, Then Social Media is Like a Credit Mill


Another school year has ushered in another season of stories about educators struggling to cope with the proliferation of technology that they didn't grow up with themselves.

The most recent such study in the U.S. revealed that students value their right to free speech online — while the majority of their teachers would rather have controls in place to prevent school-related issues from being aired.

So, could clashes created by social media end up raising the drop-out rate? Moreover, if user-generated criticism can sink a restaurant, it can also ruin a school that fails to inspire.

Credit mills, those for-profit services accredited by Ontario education ministry, don't have to worry about that dilemma. A recent investigation from the Toronto Star revealed how they have been doling out gratuitously higher grades in exchange for $500. Turns out a chemistry class taught in an "academy" above a strip mall doesn't maintain the same standards as the micromanaged public system.

No doubt, social media has played a role in the growth of these private operations. The mainstream media certainly wasn't reporting on the ease through which better grades could be bought.