Our state legislature, in their effort to "reinvent" Michigan is, along with their corporate donors, eyeing our public schools. Not happy with the prospect of an unlimited number of "for profit" corporatized charter schools, they are pushing hard and fast for an unlimited number of "cyberschools."
Let's take a look at a state very much like Michigan, Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, they experimented with "for profit" cyberschools. It has been reported that the corporation in charge of their cyberschools, "K12Incorporated", realized a profit of over $70,000,000 taxpayer dollars. All the while, they had a 30 percent dropout rate, 50 percent of their students did not pass their English proficiency tests and 60 percent did not pass in mathematics.
Just as companies like Haliburton found billions in the outsourcing of defense contracts, corporations are now seeing education as its next great cash cow. It's no surprise that corporate America now spells public education "Cyber$chool$".
This year Michigan is experimenting with a limited number of cyberschools. After two years, research will be published which will tell us whether they are doing the job they are being paid to do. The question is, why is our legislature in such a hurry? Is it because they know the data isn't going to be favorable for their corporate partners? That more and more research is showing that sitting in front of a computer screen all day, every day is a poor substitute for classroom instruction?
Or is it because deep down they know with all their top down, big government laws and over $3 billion in tax hikes on working families and seniors (with a $1.5 billion gas tax waiting in the wings) Michigan voters are angry. Do they think they will lose the House in November? Who knows?
But no matter how you slice it, we simply can't allow our children to be guinea pigs in this techno experiment. Call State Representative and tell him to vote no on SB619.
Sault Ste. Marie