Michigan’s children will now have more public school online learning opportunities
LANSING, Mich.—The state House and Senate approved legislation last week sponsored by Sen. Patrick Colbeck that expands the cap on cyber charter schools, increasing educational opportunities and personalizing education for K-12 students across Michigan.
Senate Bill 619 will lift the cap on the number of students that are allowed by the state to enroll in cyber schools from the current 2,000 to an eventual 30,000 (2 percent of the student population). The number of public cyber schools that can be chartered by state authorizing bodies has been lifted from two to an eventual 15.
“Cyber schools are another option we have in reforming our public education system in Michigan so that we are meeting the varied needs of all of our students,” said Colbeck, R-Canton. “These schools provide a free, public education to students that can be tailored to address each child’s strengths and weaknesses while providing increased one-on-one communication with a teacher.”
Cyber schools are online charter public schools that are regulated by the state and held to the same certification standards, curriculum requirements, testing requirements and transparency and reporting standards as other public schools in Michigan. Each cyber charter school must be approved by the superintendent of public instruction. They are governed by independent, non-profit boards, school district boards or public charter school boards.
“One of the most innovative educational opportunities for our children is the inclusion of cyber charter school options for our public school students,” Colbeck said.
Cyber education has been going on in Michigan for a decade, with 90 percent of the state’s school districts (more than 500 districts) and nearly all intermediate school districts (ISDs) providing some level of cyber learning. Most of this happens through a seat-time waiver process involving the Michigan Department of Education, Genesee ISD’s Gen Net program and Michigan Virtual University.