Michigan Chapter of PublicSchoolOptions.org
Coalition Chairs Sandy Smith, Brian & Heidi Kevelin
Connect with us on Facebook!
In Our State
In the most recent legislative session, legislators considered funding cuts for online public school students. If passed, online learning students would find themselves at an unfair disadvantage, receiving 20% less funding than traditional public school students. Although legislation is still pending, Michigan parents are certain that their support for full and fair funding via meetings with, and letters and phone calls to policymakers will prove successful.
Getting the Word Out
National Board Director & MI parent Sandy Smith authored op-eds in the Detroit Free Press and the Lansing State Journal early this September, in which she praises Gov. Rick Snyder and Michigan lawmakers for "getting so much right in the last year." She writes "by putting kids first, expanding school choice for parents and embracing new technologies and new teaching mehods, this back-to-school season is more special than ever."
For "March is Reading Month," the Michigan Chapter invited Governor Rick Snyder to read to about 100 kindergarten through third grade students who watched and listened via their virtual charter school's online platform. The event allowed the Governor to experience the use of technology in the classroom and interact with online learning students. A reporter with Detroit News quoted Governor Snyder as saying "It's a great opportunity to actually interact with the kids and to see that you can have real interaction going back and forth leveraging technology. Our goal is student growth, and we want to create whatever venue works best for them. If you think about it longer-term, technology is just going to become more important. Kids today take to technology a lot better than we took to it."
Keeping parents engaged, our Chapter hosted three meet-and-greet events, including a trip to the Detroit Zoo, for 75 parents. The Coalition also hosted two cider mill trips in the fall, which included hayrides, pumpkins, cider, and doughnuts. Families from both the Michigan Virtual Charter Academy and Connections Academy attended. One cider mill event also included the awarding of a Golden Apple Award to State Representative Deb Shaughnessy for her support of options, including virtual public schools. Our Chapter also coordinated with Senator Phil Pavlov to record a supportive podcast on charter schools and cyber learning.
In the News...
Public School Kids in Pennsylvania Getting Short-Changed
Pennsylvania's public online charter schools are popular, successful innovations that educate children failed by traditional schools. These schools, known as cyber schools, incorporate modern technology to support teaching and learning. They acknowledge that all students learn differently and extend the benefits of top-notch curriculum and self-paced learning to all students, regardless of their home address.
Is Virtual Learning the Anti-bully?
They mean well - the parents who inevitably ask "Aren't you concerned that your child won't develop social skills?" This is the most common question I get about my daughter, a six-year student at a full-time virtual school. But as we observed National Bullying Awareness Month this October, I felt obligated - as a mother and as a former teacher - to remind everyone of one key detail: Not all social exposure is positive.
Feedback: Schauer needs to be schooled on cyber charters
As the parent of children receiving a great education in one of Michigan's cyber charter public schools, I was dismayed to read a column in the Free Press by Mark Schauer attacking my family's decision to pursue the best possible education for our kids.
On Farming, Flying and Full-time Learning
Pulling weeds and plucking ripe tomatoes isn't part of the typical school day, unless you're Washington Virtual Academy student Sierra Fennell. Sierra farms her own produce, which she sells at the local White Salmon Farmers' Market - setting aside a little for her own dinner plate. She also creates and sells raw vegan energy bars through her company, Simply Sierra's.
Charter students deserve equal funding
As we send our children back to school this fall, we need to thank all parent advocates for their hard work over this last year in support of providing Idaho parents and students with more educational choices than ever before.
Sandy Smith: State earning A in education reform
It is difficult to open a newspaper these days without reading high profile arguments over public schools in
Michigan. Whether it's debate on Common Core standards, back-and-forth discussion about public school
spending or whose budget numbers to believe, opinions couldn't be stronger.
COMMENTARY: Cerf's decision is a setback for virtual schools
Throughout my years of helping desperate families who have retreated from Camden's failing schools, where the dropout rate is close to 7 out of every 10 children, I have learned how vital it is for parents to have choices. This is why we started the Community Education Resource Network, and why we continue to press for more public school options in New Jersey at NJPublicSchoolOptions.org.
Bullied Westwego girl becomes a Jefferson Parish virtual student
Statistics show that 1 in 5 U.S. students is a victim of bullying. Westwego resident Mary Grace Kaiser, age 10, knows this all too well -- she was bullied daily for about three to four months. Mary Grace is the daughter of Al Kaiser and Christin White Kaiser. Christin said she knew she had to look for other options to educate Mary Grace. She began looking into homeschooling, but decided that would not be an option.
Back to school more difficult for some students this fall
For parents, back-to-school time is exciting, filled with hope and promise for another great year of learning, growth and anticipation for our children. But this year, the back-to-school season brings with it disappointment and uncertainty for some parents. That's because the school their child attended no longer exists.
Governor's efforts to change status quo helping students
As New Mexico students head back to school this month, many parents recall with gratitude Gov. Susana Martinez's efforts to lay the groundwork for a successful year - and not just by approving August's tax holiday weekend.
Greater School Choice Means Greater Progress For More Tennessee Students
A new school year is upon us - with new teachers, new textbooks, and, hopefully, many new educational opportunities, for more Tennessee families and students.
Going back to school is a big reminder to all parents of how quickly our children are growing, and, also how the world itself is changing.
Boot Camp Parents Shape Up to Impact Ed Policy
In the summer, camp options abound. There?s Scout camp, swim camp, nature camp, music camp, basketball camp and more. "Boot Camp" hardly sounds appealing given the competition...unless, that is, you are a parent who wants to shape and inform the education policy that affects your child.
Purcell: Charter schools deserve equitable funding
Thanks to parent advocates' hard work, S.C. students begin this school year with more choices than ever before. As a parent, a former teacher and the leader of a state and national parent organization, I have rallied alongside other parents all the way from the State House in Columbia to the Capitol in Washington in support of expanded options and fair funding.
Another View: Embrace online public schools
Like many families throughout California, ours is taking the important step of beginning another school year. Although we live in Rocklin, my son will be attending an excellent public school in Sutter County. Or, more precisely, the school will be coming to him.
Hultgren/My Turn: Educational options
With the school year over, Massachusetts' full-time online students can look forward to more than just summer vacation. Thanks to smart thinking by the Greenfield School Committee, virtual education will continue in 2013-2014 as a state option for public school students. But the outlook wasn't always so rosy.
Advocate: Oklahoma students' options are secured by new law
Parents of Oklahoma virtual public school students have only the heat to sweat this summer, thanks to Senate Bill 267. The bill, signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin, funds and maintains access to virtual charter schools in our state. For parents like me, this is no minor victory.
As expansion looms, Gov. Rick Snyder gives cyber school technology a whirl
Gov. Rick Snyder got some hands-on experience with the type of cyber charter school program that will be expanding next fall under a new Michigan law. The self-described nerd's tech skills came in handy as he read a book to a class of children who watched and listened online through the Michigan Virtual Charter Academy.
Greenfield School Committee votes to support continued operation of Massachusetts Virtual Academy
The School Committee voted 5 to 2 to direct School Superintendent Susan Hollins to prepare a request for proposals to submit to the state by April 22 for the continued operation of Massachusetts Virtual Academy.
State Department of Education praises Georgia Cyber Academy's progress on special ed
State Board of Education members encouraged the Georgia Cyber Academy on Tuesday to go ahead with whatever student recruitment efforts it had planned for spring 2013.
Its Time States Fully Embrace Innovative Educational Options
You may have heard that everything is bigger in Texas. Most of the time, we take pride in that. However, the disturbingly large number of students in Texas on charter school wait lists is a source of disappointment, concern. These wait lists and other obstacles to alternative learning options are a cause for action.
Georgia Fights to Keep Public School Options Open For Parents & Students
Parents and students across the country need to know what is at stake in Georgia this Election Day. As a parent, a leadership member of a national organization representing thousands of families who support access to public school options, and a proud Georgia resident, the outcome of the vote on charter school Amendment One is what keeps me up at night.
One mom asks, why limit options for Oklahoma students?
More than 650,000 students attend public schools in Oklahoma. Many of them board a yellow school bus to get to class. This isn't the case for every student. More than 2,000 students who attend the Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy will get the same quality education as neighborhood school students, but in a format that better fits their learning styles and needs.
Texas should improve students' access to online public education
Everything is bigger in Texas -- except parents' ability to choose the educational option that works best for their child. While various public charter schools, including online schools, serve thousands of Texas students, more should be done to ensure that all families have the ability to enroll their children in the school that best fits their needs.
Lisa Godfrey: Support innovative school alternatives
It's that time of year again, when parents around the country prepare to send their kids back to school. However, this year is a little different for some students. Starting this month, a small number of students between sixth and 11th grades will be bringing the school into their home with the New Mexico Virtual Academy. While this is a fantastic start to an important new school, limiting this great educational opportunity to just a small group of 500 lucky students is unfair to the other students in the state who could also benefit from this alternative public charter school option.