Digital Learning Day–A Great Day to Expand Access in Michigan

It’s’ great that the Michigan Department of Education is supporting Digital Learning Day on Wednesday.  “There is a significant potential to expand the use of online learning as a practical strategy to help students stay in school and graduate,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan on
Michigan has virtual charters. An online learning class is a graduation requirement.  But more needs to be done in MI.  The house ed committee may take up SB 619 on Wednesday–it would be fitting to pass the bill out of committee on the first ever Digital Learning Day.
There are numerous reasons to lift the cap on cyber charters.  But consider this: the Michigan Virtual Charter Academy has a learning center in Grand Rapids to serve students in a half day blended programs ( offering morning and afternoon sessions).  The school has plans to open a second learning center in Detroit.  However, because of the cap, the Grand Rapids blended learning center is currently only serving a handful of students, although Stephanie Hargens, Head of School says the center could serve up to 100 students (many of whom are academically at-risk and need the individualized approach).  The school could serve even more students in the soon-to-be open Detroit blended learning center.  But it won’t happen unless the cap is lifted.
Digital Learning Now elements #1, 2, 3, and 7 address access and removing barriers.  The DLN report card on Michigan specifically calls on the state to remove the cap on its cyber charter schools.  Michigan policymakers should celebrate Digital Learning day by lifting the cap on its cyber charter schools.
What are you doing to celebrate Digital Learning Day?

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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