Thursday, February 2, 2012

CYBER Schools! Please email or write your legislator!

Tonight I would like to speak regarding Senate Bill 619, the proposed legislation that lifts the cap on online cyber schools providing for an unlimited number of full time, for profit cyber schools. This bill, as written, provides no controls on cyber school performance. This bill has already passed in the Senate and is currently awaiting hearings in the House Education Committee.

Cyber school research around the country is providing a dismal picture of student performance in cyber schools.

The Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University has done studies that show that students who receive their education solely from cyber schools, perform significantly worse on the given assessments than students who attend classic brick and mortar schools.
At the University of Colorado in Boulder a December, 2010 study revealed that only 30% of virtual schools run by for profit organizations, met minimum progress standard, as compared to 55% of tradition public schools.

Michigan’s State Board of Education has passed a resolution opposing SB 619 siting a lack of performance review requirements. The MEA, the Michigan Association of School Boards, Michigan Association of Administrators, and the AFT have all taken stands against this legislation.

As a teacher, I was a part of the 7th grade “Laptop Teams” when laptops were first brought to the district and I was also part of the Walled Lake teacher teams that traveled to other school districts to help them implement the use of laptops in their classrooms. I have always used technology as a part of my instruction and would not be happy to return to a time when those resources were not available. However, I am also keenly aware of the role of the teacher in a classroom with technology and the importance of having a blend of teacher instruction and guidance using technology.

Senate Bill 619 provides for none of these important aspects of a student’s educational needs. It also appears to allow a siphoning of public dollars by for profit corporations whose primary goals are probably not the education of children. I am urging all of the WLEA members to write their legislators in opposition of this bill, and hope that others will follow suit.

WRITE or CALL the House Education Committee TODAY and tell them to vote NO on SB 619 that lifts the cap on Cyber Schools.

Tell them that:
1) Cyber schools are not proving to be effective education
2) Cyber schools are just a way for corporations to take public money meant for public schools 3) While computer instruction is a great tool of education, it needs to be utilized as an addendum of a live teacher’s instruction;

WRITE OR CALL NOW! Please use your own phone and home email!

Tim McMillon – R - House Education Chair
Phone: (517) 373-1773 Toll Free: (866) 969-0450

Thomas B. Hooker – R – Majority Vice Chair
: (517) 373-2277 Toll Free: (855) 866-4077

Kurt Heise – R – Plymouth
Phone: (517) 373-3816 Toll Free: (855) 737-5878 [855-REP-KURT]

Lisa Brown (D) is this area’s representative on the House Education Committee.