Governor Snyder made national news with his secret group which was working to create a "value school" model for public education in Michigan, and cut thousands out of the investment in each child with a voucher program. Secret "Skunk Works" program aims for "Voucher-like" program for Michigan Schools, Okemos Parents for Schools, April 19, 2013. Last year's budget also included a provision which will force public schools to pay for two online courses per semester for any child in grades 5-12, with no meaningful oversight by public schools. "Voucher for Vendors," what it is, and why you should speak out against it, Okemos Parents for Schools, April 14, 2013. Although there was never any data or research to support these radical changes, there is now data to show these models are failing even with university age students.
Millions have signed up for online courses sponsored by elite colleges, yet they report high dropout rates and disappointing student performance among those who stick it out. A quietly released report last week on a partnership between San Jose State University and major course provider Udacity found that disadvantaged kids performed particularly poorly and students found the courses confusing. Collective statistics aren’t available, but by one tracker’s account most “massive online open courses” — known as MOOCs — have completion rates of less than 10 percent.
“Quality, quality and quality,” [Adam Sitze, an assistant professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought at Amherst College] said. “The elephant in the room with online learning has been that these courses don’t equate with the quality in face-to-face courses.” [Online courses don't live up to hype, Politico.com, September 18, 2013 (emphasis added).]
We recently wrote about the flood of cyberschool marketing all over the state. Online schools rapidly expanding, spending tax dollars on marketing, Okemos Parents for Schools, July 26, 2013. Online ads, TV commercials and direct mail have been targeting Okemos as described in our post. Now road side signs are popping up in Okemos as well.