Parents, Orgs Lobby For Online Charter Schools in Michigan

Parents and school choice advocates have joined an online charter school organization to lobby state Rep. Peter MacGregor, R-Cannon Township, to support a bill to lift the cap on online charter schools in Michigan.

Artavia Ceteway, a board member with the Michigan Chapter of the National Coalition for Charter School Options, said:

“We were lucky enough to have our children accepted at a cyber charter public school but because of Michigan’s arbitrary cap on enrollment, 98 Rockford-area students who applied were not as fortunate.

“These children deserve access to a high quality education and Representative MacGregor can make sure they receive it by voting yes on Senate Bill 619.”

Ceteway wants MacGregor to “stand up for their children,” after it was revealed MacGregor was one of a half-dozen undecided lawmakers proponents are lobbying for support.

Ceteway and others believe cyber charter schools are helping gifted students excel, struggling students catch-up and students with health and developmental problems succeed, writes Monica Scott at M Live.

This comes after the House Education Committee approved the bill 10 to 8 to allow more online charter schools. Currently the cap is set at two, with a total enrollment of about 1,400 students.

And while MacGregor has supported lifting the cap on traditional charter schools, he is going to take his time over the online bill.

“A lot of these decisions are data driven, and I don’t think I’ve gotten all the data I need on these cyber charter schools.

“I want to take measured steps before opening up the flood gates because I have heard some horror stories from other states.”

Last year the state Board of Education adopted a resolution that sought a two-year review of the two existing schools, wanting to see them meet the same student achievement, growth and outcome requirements as traditional public schools.

However, expansion critic Rockford Superintendent Michael Shibler said that current research indicates cyber schools don’t perform as well.

Shibler said:

“Why aren’t our state lawmakers paying attention?

“Kent Intermediate School District is in the process of developing cyber programs that would include opportunities for credit recovery, home school students and those with a longterm illness.”

However, Ceteway believes parents who are unhappy with the quality of their children’s education should be allowed the choice.