Skunk Works gets a Facebook account

Gov. Rick Snyder’s previously top-secret “Skunk Works” group now has a home on Facebook.

In an attempt to give the impression of being more transparent, the so-called “Education Technology Work Group” has launched a Facebook page to collect input from Michigan citizens on education policy, particularly with regard to technology expansion.

“I didn’t want to limit the Work Group to just the usual stakeholders,” state Superintendent Mike Flanagan said in a statement. “You don’t have to be an educator to be involved. We want to hear from educators, but we also want to hear from the general public — from parents and students, and also employers; early childhood providers; college instructors; those in the foundation community; education advocates and reformers; and technology experts.”

Here’s just a sample of the comments posted on the group’s Facebook page:

“Invest in public schools,” Eric Ceresa said. “Charter schools, online schools, the EAA — all of these are the Wal-Mart of education: an attempt to provide a lower-cost alternative and hope that people won’t notice it’s of lower quality. These things do not serve to improve our kids’ education. We need to re-focus and re-invest in the model that best serves ALL students, and that model is the traditional, neighborhood public school.”

Zelda Ziemer said: “Here’s an idea — properly fund public schools. Schools are more than just an education depot; they offer socialization skills, basic human interaction skills, kids learn to be independent, learn about music, athleticism, arts and so much more. They cannot learn those things looking at a bland computer screen. Education is the foundation for building a society with fewer prisoners and more successful adults. Anyone who thinks less education in a formal setting is the answer is sorely mistaken.”

“I wonder why we are discussing the use of technology when the state continues to cut public education to the bone,” Dave Kenny said. “I am guessing to promote cyber schools?”

“Better technology can be a big part of the State’s schools,” said David Roof, “but great, professional teachers with training in child psychology, the science and methods of learning and a relationship with the student cannot be replaced. I look forward to seeing ideas and discussing as a parent with two kids relying on great public ed in Michigan.”