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Charter authorizers get proactive with new standards

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Michigan’s charter school authorizers have been in the news a lot recently. They’re the roughly 40 institutions, often colleges, that ensure oversight and accountability at the state’s 300 publicly funded charter schools. About 130,000 young people will attend a charter school in Michigan in the 2014-2015 school year.Three weeks ago, state schools Superintendent Michael Flanagan warned 11 authorizers that their performance has been deficient. He called for greater quality, transparency, and accountability. Without improvements by mid October, he threatens to suspend their authority to authorize additional schools.

Last Friday, an organization that represents 10 authorizers announced a set of nine new voluntary standards they say will improve oversight and performance.

Two key members of the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers speak with Current State about those standards.

Cindy Shumacher is the Executive Director of the Engler Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University. Dr. Tim Wood is Executive Director of the Grand Valley State University Charter School Office and is a Vice Chair of the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers.

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