Cook cautions legislators to 'tread lightly' on cyber school movement


For two days, the House Education Committee has heard testimony on SB 619, the legislation to lift the cap on cyber schools. While what most of what the Committee has heard came from parents, teachers, students and providers of cyber schools who fully endorse the legislation, today MEA submitted written testimony from President Cook along with research showing that cyber schools are not the great educational miracles many legislators are claiming and calling for more accountability in their operation.

“Our state leaders should tread very lightly when deciding whether to divert scarce educational resources into virtual schools. And they should tread very lightly before turning our kids into guinea pigs for corporate education experiments,” warned Cook.

Nevertheless, in his testimony, Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton), sponsor of the bill, called SB 619 “a fantastic opportunity to promote education excellence.” He claimed that cyber schools serve urban, at-risk schools well and meet or exceed MEAP averages; at the same time, he admitted that individual scores in math, reading, and writing were not so stellar.

Meanwhile, it’s expected that SB 618, which lifts the cap on charter schools, will be up for a vote on the House floor this week if enough votes can be solidified.  Contacting your representative has an impact. Your efforts are making some lawmakers reconsider their position on the issue. Continue contacting your representatives. Tell them to vote "no" on SB 618 and instead focus on improving our traditional public schools so that all students can get the well-rounded education they need to succeed.