Online Education on the Rise in Michigan

A piece by Lori Higgins in the Detroit Free Press today details the impact that new state legislation will have in regard to schools and districts offering online learning options across Michigan. The state has long been at the forefront of the online movement in K-12 education, but this year’s legislation offers even more choice to parents and students seeking different options.

Though the movement toward online courses has not been without controversy, I believe Michigan has been a perfect example of manageable growth and adherence to best practices. A push for online ed as a money maker in the for-profit education world has sometimes produced disastrous results. And when virtual charter school enrollment numbers aren’t capped at reasonable capacity, troubles typically ensue. Michael Barbour, a researcher and professor of instructional technology at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, is quoted in the Free Press article: “When those decisions are being driven by economics… that’s a problem.”

Here’s hoping that Michigan can continue to lead by example by grounding its online ed efforts in sound research and a moral motivation.

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