Governor Snyder’s plan for education in Michigan sounds just like Romney’s and Bobby Jindal’s.
The money should follow the student anywhere and everywhere, to any vendor of education services, regardless of who owns it or manages it.
So, students may take their money to private schools, to hawkers of services, to online courses, whatever. Welcome to anyone who wants to start a school and collect public money.
That is a plan to undermine public education, and the rightwing knows it. That’s their goal.
Education costs won’t go down without increasing class sizes, and the way that will happen is by shifting more dollars to online schools of dubious quality.
It may be worth pointing out that this is not the formula of any high-performing nation in the world.
An editorial writer for the Detroit Free Press sees an issue with the Snyder approach. His column is called “It’s Time to Reshape Public Education.” My suggestion, take care not to destroy it. The entrepreneurs who will flood the new marketplace will care more about their bottom line than about children. Surely, Governor Snyder knows that. This is the governor’s prescription for education spending:
“Any time, any place, any way, any pace.”
It’s a catchy way of saying state money should follow students through all kinds of educational options, from traditional neighborhood schools to charters and online coursework — whatever best enables the student to learn.
Snyder calls it “unfettered flexibility” and hopes to foster more “free market ideas for public schools in Michigan.”
Sounds good, but let’s make sure we have quality controls in place for educators who want to set up shop here and take in our tax dollars.
And let’s not leave decisions about learning entirely up to the students. A few may do just fine taking a physics class online at 2 a.m. from a teacher based in Arizona. But most will probably be better served by a little more structure — and a mandatory gym class.