The Legislature is in the final days of setting the school aid budget for next year. Parents and other supporters of public education from around Michigan have been saying loud and clear that we want resources to support our local public schools and not be diverted to pet projects or questionable initiatives.
But there is one section of the budget that should worry every Michigander. In his proposed budget, the Governor added a new section that doesn't directly spend any money but has the potential to cost our schools a great deal. This section, Section 21f, would require every school district to allow their students to take two fully online courses per semester.
That doesn't sound too bad, does it? But wait - our school districts will have to pay for the courses, but they don't get to approve who provides the courses or whether the class is rigorous enough to count for academic credit. In some versions of the budget proposal, our schools even have to pay the full amount up front, even if the student doesn't finish. Even better, some versions say that it's the online provider, not the school, which gets to decide if a student has finished and earned credit.