Coalition Chair: David Hayataka
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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.