School Changes: Local districts trying to adapt 2014.07.23

People not closely associated with schools are sometimes shocked when they hear about changes in contemporary education.

What? All state assessment tests will soon be taken online only? Now let me get this straight – students no longer have to attend school? They can take all their courses online at home?

Legislators and administrators in Lansing and Columbus support charter schools to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars every year—about $1 billion in Michigan—even though many have poor academic records? Can that be right?

Does Michigan really have more for-profit companies running schools than any other state in the nation?

We heard a retired teacher say recently that he was so glad to have taught in what he called public education’s golden era when teachers were valued and private companies didn’t compete for students.

There have been many changes in education in recent years and that’s likely to continue. Some changes benefit students while others seem questionable.

Morenci and Fayette have both embarked on new projects to respond to changes. Fayette took the first step by applying for state funding to start its virtual academy for online courses. Morenci is following and tying into the software company used by Fayette.

It’s a true alternative to traditional education—no teacher required and work from home. It’s also a break from having classmates and participating in school activities, etc., but that’s exactly what some families want.

As Morenci superintendent Mike McAran said, there’s no way to gauge the success of the program. There’s little to do but give it a try and avoid falling by the wayside of modern education.