Michigan's superintendent predicts institutions will lose authority to create charter schools

Jul 9, 2014

A classroom.
A classroom.
Credit user LizMarie_AK / Wikimedia Commons

The statement comes a day after state Superintendent of Schools Mike Flanagan said he’s ready to use his authority to revoke that ability from charter school authorizers. That’s if they fail to meet new standards for transparency set by state education officials.

Flanagan says he met with authorizers in February about issues involving charters. He says he’s not convinced all of them will be able to meet the new, tougher standards.

“If I had to guess, just because of the candor at the February meeting, there’s probably some that we won’t extend their ability,” Flanagan said Tuesday. “But I don’t want to pre-judge that too much. That’s only hearing the anecdotal stuff.”

“I probably shouldn’t speculate, but I’m just saying – out of, whatever is it, 30-some authorizers – everything being equal, there may be some that haven’t met those standards,” he said. “And then, I wouldn’t hesitate at all to say that’s it, you can’t charter any more schools.”

But Flanagan says he’s still leaving it up to authorizers to actively monitor their charter schools, instead of cracking down on the schools directly.

“I don’t see myself judging whether or not those are appropriate – for instance, leases – but I think they need to be transparent so that the authorizers know about it and then they should judge it,” he said.

Flanagan is also urging state lawmakers to pass tougher transparency requirements for charter school operators.

A spokesperson for state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says he’s having discussions with staff about ways to address some of the issues brought up in the Free Press series. Democrats in the Legislature have already introduced bills to ban for-profit charters, and plan to introduce legislation to increase transparency after lawmakers return from their summer break.