Online charter schools are a promising new innovation that’s providing an expanded range of educational opportunities for a growing number K-12 students. Unfortunately, many states, including Michigan, restrict those benefits by capping the number of students who can take advantage of these “virtual” schools.
A recent news story from Louisiana demonstrates how out-of-touch these artificial enrollment caps are with market demand: One online charter school is being forced to turn away about 1,300 students due to such caps.
It’s happening here, too. In this video, the principal of a Michigan online charter school notes that he had thousands of students wanting to get it, but by law could let only 400 through the schoolhouse portal.
A recent Mackinac Center study of online learning in Michigan argues that these caps do virtually nothing to ensure educational quality, and actively prohibit saving taxpayer dollars, given that online charter schools generally cost less to operate. Just one group benefits from such caps: Incumbent employees of the entrenched “brick-and-mortar” public school monopoly.
Michigan should stop shorting-changing parents when it comes to expanding educational choices. Every student in an online charter school is there for one reason: A parent made a deliberate choice based on his or her uniquely well-qualified knowledge of what’s best for his or her child. The politicians of this state or any other have no valid reason to artificially limit the number of children able to take advantage of this opportunity.