by Jared Burkhart
Charter schools are sometimes a mystery to people outside of the charter school world. We have all been in conversations where someone just doesn’t quite understand the impact we make daily.
I believe everyone should keep these essential facts in mind:
Charter schools opened in Michigan a generation ago in response to parental demands for educational choice.
- Currently, there are over 146,000 students attending over 300 charter schools in Michigan.
Charter schools and authorizers value student growth and achievement just like Michigan families do.
- We work hard to ensure charter schools are preparing students with the 21st-century skills they need to succeed in a global economy.
- According to Stanford University, students in charter schools are making faster academic gains and performing better than their traditional school district peers. This outcome is even more pronounced in Detroit.
Charter schools focus on underserved students and are addressing the educational needs of the community.
- More than 71% percent of students in Michigan charter schools are eligible for free and reduced lunch.
- Nearly 67% percent of students belong to racial or ethnic minorities.
- Charter schools serve students with disabilities and English language learners. 10% of charter school students are special education students. No student is turned away.
Charter schools are performing well and authorizers are holding them accountable, despite receiving less funding.
- On average, public charter schools receive $1,630 less per pupil than their traditional school counterparts.
Charter innovation fosters school and student success.
- The charter sector has developed sophisticated systems for overseeing and supporting charter schools, including computer-adaptive testing models, automated compliance tools, and training programs for board members and administrators.
Michigan authorizers place tremendous importance on the role of charter school boards, which are ultimately responsible for the operation and performance of their schools.
- As public officials, charter school board members are required to take the constitutional oath of office and are charged with making important determinations about contracts, budgets, and policy.
- Michigan authorizers have developed model tools, training programs, and online resources to ensure board members are continually educated as they prepare to make critical decisions for the entire school and students.
The work being done in the charter school world is tremendous. Everyone in the charter schools sector should be proud of the great accomplishments being achieved in Michigan. It is time that we allow ourselves to be proud of our work and tell others about it. Please use these facts in the next conversation you have with someone who is unclear about what charters do for students.