Parents: ‘Please consider the kids and parents, and let us choose’

Families Encourage House to Pass Senate Bill 619, Expand Educational Opportunities for 10,000 Students on Cyber Charter Waiting List as National School Choice Week Begins

LANSING—As policy makers and legislators this week observe National School Choice Week, Michigan parents with students on waiting lists or currently enrolled in one of the state’s two cyber charter schools shared their personal stories and encouraged lawmakers to expand educational opportunities for every child in Michigan.

“I have two children on the waiting list for enrollment in a cyber charter school, both for medical reasons, and still no spot for them,” said Lori Beilman, of Benton Harbor. “All I ask of lawmakers in the State House is please consider the kids and parents, and let us choose what is best for our families.”

Parents have broadly praised Michigan’s cyber charter schools for helping gifted students excel, struggling students catch-up, students with health and developmental problems succeed and students who were victims of bullies find a safe learning environment.

The House Education Committee this week is expected to hear testimony on Senate Bill 619, a measure designed to lift the state cap on enrollment in cyber charter schools, expanding educational opportunities for parents and students.

The bill would lift the cap on the number of students permitted to attend cyber charter schools. Because of current law, only two cyber charter schools currently operate in Michigan despite the fact that nearly 10,000 students currently languish on waiting lists, their parents clamoring for the opportunity to enroll their children in cyber charter schools.

“Education is not one size fits all,” said Brenda Bergman of Essexville, whose autistic son is currently on the waiting list for enrollment. “Open up enrollment in virtual schools and allow involved parents to make the responsible and appropriate choice to enroll their children in virtual school here in Michigan.”

The National Coalition for Public School Options – Michigan Chapter is an alliance of parents that supports and defends parents’ rights to access the best public school options for their children. The Coalition supports the creation of public school options, including charter schools, online schools, magnet schools, tuition scholarship programs, open enrollment policies and other innovative education programs. www.publicschooloptions.org/michigan

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