Classroom Technology

Mich. House OKs Bill to Boost Number of Cyber Charters

By Lori Higgins, Detroit Free Press (MCT) — April 27, 2012 2 min read

The number of cyber charter schools could expand from two to as many as 15 under controversial legislation narrowly passed Thursday by the state House.

The bill—which passed on a 56-54 vote—also would allow the number of students who can enroll in each cyber charter to expand to as many as 10,000 each.

Currently, state law allows only two cyber charters to exist and caps enrollment in the first year to 400 and a maximum of 1,000 in subsequent years. The schools also were required to enroll a significant number of students who have dropped out of school.

The House, “took a big step into the 21st Century for students,” Dan Quisenberry, president of the organization, said in a news release Thursday.

Cyber charters are public schools where students take all of their course work online.

The charters were strongly opposed by many in the traditional K-12 public school community, including the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB).

Don Wotruba, deputy director of MASB, said the group wanted more language in the bill that would ensure quality for the new cyber charters and make them more accountable.

“We’re disappointed to see the House pass it. Ultimately, we still don’t believe there are any real safeguards in place,” Wotruba said.

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan has said he doesn’t support cyber charter expansion until there are two years of performance data and there are clear rules for holding them to the same accountability standards as all public schools.

“Some cyber school models have shown to be successful in reaching struggling students, but we need to be prudent as we go forward to make sure the focus always remains on student achievement,” Flanagan said in a statement Thursday.

Only one Democrat—Shanelle Jackson of Detroit—voted for the bill. Eight Republicans voted against it, including Rep. Anthony Forlini, Harrison Township; Rep. Ben Glardon, Owosso; Rep. Ken Goike, Ray; Rep. Kenneth Horn, Frankenmuth; Rep. Joel Johnson, Clare; Rep. Paul Muxlow, Brown City; Rep. Peter Pettalia, Presque Isle, and Rep. Jeff Farrington, Utica.

The existing cyber schools—Michigan Virtual Charter Academy and Michigan Connections Academy—had enrollments of 800 and 638, respectively, this year. Both said they had long waiting lists.

The House bill differs from a version passed last year by the Michigan Senate. The bill now goes back to the Senate.

Under the House bill, up to five cyber charter schools could open by Dec. 31, 2013. The cap would increase to 10 by Dec. 31, 2014, and to 15 after that date.

The bill also would restrict enrollment in each cyber school to 2,500 in the first year, to no more than 5,000 in the second year, and no more than 10,000 in the third and subsequent years.

However, the number of new contracts issued for a cyber charter—and the number of students that could enroll—would be restricted if the total number of students enrolled in cyber charters exceeds 1% to 2% of the total statewide public school enrollment in the 2011-12 school year.

Copyright (c) 2012, Detroit Free Press. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Events

School & District Management Live Event Education Week Leadership Symposium
Education Week's Premier Leadership Event for K12 School & District Leaders.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Sponsor
Simplify K-5 Learning with Digital Content—All in One Place
Children learn best when there are fewer barriers to learning. Gale In Context: Elementary, matches how young kids naturally navigate online
Content provided by Gale
Gale In Context: Elementary replicates the way curious kids naturally learn, simplifying the experience
Gale In Context: Elementary replicates the way curious kids naturally learn, simplifying the experience.
Classroom Technology From Our Research Center During COVID-19, Schools Have Made a Mad Dash to 1-to-1 Computing. What Happens Next?
Districts that purchased devices for hybrid and remote learning will have to determine how to use them for in-person instruction.
8 min read
A line of volunteers carries iPads to be delivered to parents at curbside pickup at Eastside Elementary on March 23, 2020, in Clinton, Miss. Educators are handing out the devices for remote learning while students are forced to stay home during the coronavirus outbreak.
A line of volunteers carries iPads to be delivered to parents at curbside pickup at Eastside Elementary a year ago in Clinton, Miss.<br/>
Julio Cortez/AP
Classroom Technology From Our Research Center Most Students Now Have Home Internet Access. But What About the Ones Who Don't?
Here's what school districts, states, and the federal government are doing to improve at-home access to devices and the internet.
8 min read
Sam Urban Wittrock, left, an advance placement World History Teacher at W.W. Samuell High School, displays a wifi hot spot that are being handed out to students in Dallas on April 9, 2020. Dallas I.S.D. is handing out the devices along with wifi hotspots to students in need so that they can connect online for their continued education amid the COVID-19 health crisis.
Sam Urban Wittrock, left, an advanced placement World History teacher at W.W. Samuell High School, displays one of the Wi-Fi hotspots that were handed out to students in Dallas in April of 2020. The Dallas school district gave the devices to students who needed them to do schoolwork at home during the pandemic.
Tony Gutierrez/AP
Classroom Technology From Our Research Center 'A Year of Tremendous Growth.' How the Pandemic Forced Teachers to Master Technology
Educators nationwide say their ability to use technology for instruction improved significantly during the pandemic.
6 min read
Fifth grade teacher April Whipp welcomes back her students virtually during the first day of school at Moss-Nuckols Elementary School on Aug.13, 2020 in Louisa County, Va.
Fifth grade teacher April Whipp welcomes back her students virtually in August during the first day of school at Moss-Nuckols Elementary School in Louisa County, Va.
Erin Edgerton/The Daily Progress via AP