It WAS a great program, but the virtual version was absolutely terrible for my students. Global Finals the last five years has been packed with Chinese students that simply ignore the rules, cheat and then get rewarded by winning over teams that followed the rules. The one advantage to doing virtual solutions this year is that we did not have to worry about being infected with Covid by the China kids. As a teacher I understand what this program was 10 or 15 years ago and how great it was for the kids. But now it is terribly run in Wisconsin and if you advance past affiliate it is a waste of time and money in both the Knoxville/Kansas City locations and virtual online is safer from the Chinese virus but worthless and far as teaching the kids science, independence and problem solving, the things that used to be the strengths of the program.
There is an optional high-cost "Global Finals" tournament at the end of the school-year (and the organization does not disclose this to parents at the beginning of the year.) As a result, we spent close to $8000 on sending 5 team-members to this tournament, as they were in the top 3 of 9 contestants at the State level that were chosen to go. They also used the lure of "workshops" to make their event sound more educational and appealing, when their costs (we later found out) weren't even included in the high registration fee. I would have rather been able to, at the beginning of the year, choose a team that was all on the same page about stopping at the State level. Hopefully this information will be helpful to some parents. I have pointed all of this out to the CEO and Board members, and have received no satisfactory response.
Review from Guidestar