06 January 2012

Charter Schools in Michigan

First appeared on My Fox Detroit
Lawmakers in Lansing give the thumbs up to a bill removing the limit on the number of charter schools in Michigan. That means a new wave of schools could open soon. However, some people aren't happy with the likely change. There are hopes more students will end up in Michigan Honors Programs.

Walton Charter Academy in Pontiac, a 13-year-old school operated by Northern University, is celebrating this week's passage of legislation that uncaps the number of charters that can open in Michigan. Walton has had a waiting list in the past, making more charters good news for advocates there.

A lot of teachers prefer working in charter schools.  They feel more responsible and accountable for their students.

There are currently 255 charters in Michigan. A university can't charter more than 150. That will likely change.
Charter school leaders talk often about high standards for both students and teachers, standards they say set them apart from public schools.

Charter school teachers are accountable for the growth of each student which means they may later take Michigan Honors Classes in college.

However, not everybody is happy with this lesson plan that the legislature has put together. In fact, the Detroit Federation of Teachers is expressing their dismay. Members are even going so far as to say that students are being used as pawns to help charters make money.

Detroit Federation of Teachers believes the majority of Michigan charters schools are not matching the public schools in their communities. They also believe that charters don't take into account the many students who have special needs. There may be more need for Michigan Honors Courses eventually.

Governor Rick Snyder is expected to sign this bill into law next week, but there are some stipulations in it requiring charter schools to have more scrutiny about their past performance and also more transparency.

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