State Board of Education skeptical of SB 619

The state Board of Education has passed a resolution opposing SB 619, which lifts the cap on cyber schools. The Board of Education’s resolution supports more cyber schools only if they are subject to a two-year performance review and the state holds these schools to the same standards as public schools.

Testimony before the House Education Committee on SB 619 yesterday was mixed. While families of cyber school students had high praise for the education choice, operators and teachers of current cyber schools did admit that cyber schooling is not for all students.

All those speaking in support of the legislation stressed the need for a “coach” present every day, all day to ensure that students are doing the lessons and taking the tests. A cyber school parent explained that since she did not work outside the home, she devoted her entire day to her children’s schooling in addition to the time she spent preparing for the next day’s lesson and completing reports. Sort of sounds like a typical teacher’s day!

Michael Barbour, a professor of instructional technology at Wayne State University, said there was little data on the benefits or dangers of full-time online schooling. He supported MEA’s position that there is no available research to support removing the cap on cyber schools.

Keep in contact with your representatives. In addition to asking them to vote “no” on SB 618 which lifts the cap on charter schools, remind them that lifting the cap on cyber schools also does nothing to help traditional schools be successful. They are both schemes to pull needed resources and support from public education to line the pockets of for-profit schools.