The tension between advocates of traditional and charter schools in Michigan has intensified. That’s because of recent stories in the Detroit Free Press which raise serious doubts about the operation and oversight of the state’s nearly 400 charter schools.
Public revenue that underwrites Michigan charter schools amounts to nearly a billion dollars a year, according to the story. The paper’s Jennifer Dixon writes that “taxpayers and parents are left clueless about how charter schools spend the public’s money.” In its review of 20 years of charter school records, it also found instances of wasteful spending, poor academic performance, a lack of regulation and resistance to reform.
The issue becomes more complicated since a number of Michigan charter schools appear to be running well and are doing a very good job. Quite a few serve minorities living in poverty.
To respond to some of the issues raised in the articles Current State speaks with Amber Arellano, Executive Director of Ed Trust Midwest, an Ann Arbor-based non-partisan education advocacy and research organization, and Brian Shaughnessy, superintendent of Lansing’s Cole Academy.