Senate Approves Expansion of Cyber Schools

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LANSING, Mich.—The state Senate approved legislation Thursday sponsored by Senator Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) that lifts the cap on cyber schools — expanding educational opportunities and personalizing education for K-12 students across Michigan.

Senate Bill 619 eliminates restrictions on statewide cyber schools to increase online learning options for students. It removes a cap on the number of cyber schools that are allowed to operate in Michigan and the amount of students that may enroll.

“Cyber schools are another option we have in reforming our education system in Michigan so that we are meeting the varied needs of all of our students,” Colbeck said. “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 must be approved by the superintendent of public instruction and are governed by independent, non-profit boards, school district boards or public charter school boards. They are held to the same certification standards, curriculum requirements and testing requirements as other public schools in Michigan.

“There are mechanisms in place to measure the results of a student’s cyber school education. Currently, students in Michigan’s two cyber schools are performing as well as or better than the statewide average for the MEAP test,” Colbeck said.

Colbeck’s bill is part of a larger education reform package that removes arbitrary geographical boundaries, age limits and conditions that prevent students from reaching their full educational potential.

“These bills are about empowering parents with the education choices and opportunities that work best for their children and giving schools the flexibility they need to innovate and excel,” said Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, chairman of the Education Committee.

Senate Bills 619, 621 – 623, and 709 – 710, also known as the Parent Empowerment Education Reform package, now head to the Michigan House for consideration.

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An audio clip of Colbeck talking on SB 619 is available at:  http://www.MISenateGOP.com/senators/podcasts.asp?District=7

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