charter schools

Education
3:39 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

"We have to teach ourselves:" students at Detroit's Catherine Ferguson Academy file federal lawsuit

A Catherine Ferguson Academy student and her child.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Some students and staff at Detroit’s Catherine Ferguson Academy say their education is so lackluster, it violates their civil rights.

The Detroit Public Schools handed the school for pregnant and parenting girls over to a charter operator in 2011, after students and teachers fought to keep it from closing.

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Education
12:44 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Are we allowing poorly performing charter schools to expand in Michigan?

Detroit Public Schools is offering 45 schools to charter companies.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Education Trust-Midwest, "a statewide nonpartisan policy, research, and advocacy organization," released an analysis on the 32 charter schools set to open in Michigan this fall.

They say while some newly approved charter schools are run by operators with a strong track record, many others are run by operators that are “chronically low-performing.”

According to ETM’s David Zeman, the data demonstrates that “Michigan needs to seriously consider holding charter authorizers more accountable for school quality.”

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Education
7:39 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

32 new Michigan charter schools set to open in fall 2013

U of M's two-year study will look at charters schools across the state.
user: jdurham morguefile

This fall, 32 new charter schools are scheduled to open in Michigan.

To check out where these schools will be located, look at this Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA) link.

According to MAPSA, there are currently 232 charter public schools in Michigan with over 100,000 enrolled students.

This year, there number of charter schools opening is due in part to a controversial law that lifted restrictions on charter schools.

More from MAPSA:

Michigan law allows new public schools to be chartered by state universities, community colleges, intermediate school districts and local school districts.

“Michigan’s system of charter school authorizing and oversight is considered a model around the country, and as we look at the new schools opening this year, we can see why that is,” [MAPSA President Dan Quisenberry] said. “Once again, the authorizers have done an excellent job of making sure that only the best, most promising schools will be allowed to open. You’ll notice that we aren’t seeing the supposed ‘flood’ of new charter schools that some critics feared. The authorizers aren't going to charter any new school that doesn’t offer a high-quality, innovative approach.”

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Politics & Government
10:55 am
Fri May 17, 2013

In this morning's news: Michigan Medicaid expansion, charter schools, Flint school layoffs

Morning News Roundup, May 17, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Michigan Medicaid expansion uncertain

Legislation that will determine the future of Michigan Medicaid is at a standstill. On Thursday, the state Senate passed a budget bill that did not include Medicaid although the federal government is offering to pay the state to add hundreds of thousands of people to the program.

Later on Thursday, a Legislative panel heard testimony on a House Republican plan that opts to overhaul the program before expanding it. Senate Republicans say they’re willing to consider the House plan.

Michigan Board of Education asks state to more closely monitor charter schools

The Michigan Board of Education wants to see new laws enacted that would allow the state to more closely monitor the business practices of charter schools. Republican lawmakers are eyeing the request skeptically. The Board has a Democratic majority. The Board’s President, John Austin, stated that the board has a responsibility to keep an eye on all public schools, including charters.

Flint School District will lay off nearly 140 teachers and staff

Next month, the Flint School District is expecting to lay off nearly 140 teachers and staff. This is the latest in a series of cutbacks. Eric Scorsone, an economist with Michigan State University, said this could be the tip of the iceberg. More school districts could topple because of uncertain revenue streams and rising costs. Scorsone says it would take a major shift in school funding and an increase in the state’s sales tax to turn things around.

11:04 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Former President George W. Bush helps to raise $400,000 for GR school

Lead in text: 
Former President George W. Bush spoke Wednesday to a crowd of roughly 900 during the second annual Leaders of Tomorrow Gala in Grand Rapids. The event raised $400,000 to support the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a school founded by Dick DeVos.
GRAND RAPIDS, MI - Former President George W. Bush Wednesday charmed a crowd of 900 attending the second annual West Michigan Aviation Academy's Leaders of Tomorrow Gala with his candor and trademark wit.
Politics & Government
10:54 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Former President George W. Bush to give keynote in Grand Rapids

Former President George W. Bush visits with an audience in Grand Rapids
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Former President George W. Bush will be in Grand Rapids this Wednesday, May 15. He will be delivering the keynote address at the second annual West Michigan Aviation Academy’s "Leaders of Tomorrow Gala."

The West Michigan Aviation Academy is a charter school founded in 2010 by Grand Rapids businessman, Richard DeVos, Jr. In addition to teaching core curricula, the school specifically focuses on aviation with a general emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). 

The Gala is meant to raise money for the school’s summer Navigator’s camp, aviation related capstone events, incentive flights, simulators, and flight training.

According to Monica Scott at MLive, the event begins at 4:30 p.m. and Bush is expected to speak before the dinner served later in the evening. It will take place at the Alticor Hangar at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

According to the Gala's website, Bush will speak to a sold out crowd of more than 850 guests.

-Julia Field, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Education
11:03 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Three little-known facts about charter schools in Michigan

University Prep Science Math Middle School in Detroit
Credit http://www.daymonjhartley.com/

 Today, on State of Opportunity, I report on a troubling fact of charter school expansion in Michigan: Some of the state's best charter schools are struggling to compete against low-performing charter schools. The reason, simply enough, is marketing. Low-performing schools can easily outspend high-performing schools on advertising and recruitment gimmicks. 

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Education
10:40 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Report: Education in Michigan 'lackluster,' relying too much on charter schools

A chart from the report
The Education Trust-Midwest

Michigan is falling behind most other states when it comes to improving student achievement.

That’s the conclusion of a new report from Royal Oak-based Education Trust-Midwest.

The report looks at the improvements in student achievement in Michigan from 2003 to 2011 and compares it to the improvements other states have seen.

On almost every measure, Michigan lags well behind the national average.

From the report:

Sadly, we have little to be proud of today. Our state’s educational performance is lackluster by practically any reliable measure.

Amber Arrellano of The Education Trust-Midwest says part of the problem is Michigan has relied primarily on charter schools to improve student outcomes, and not all charter schools have been successful.

"We're actually putting tens of millions of dollars and subsidizing the growth of some of our worst schools in the state. And that’s just not a good use of our taxpayer dollars," she said.

Arrellano says more school choice can improve outcomes, "but when the Legislature decided to lift the state cap on charter schools a few years ago, they did not include any performance standards for who gets to expand here."

Arrellano says there are high-quality charter schools that improve student performance in Michigan, but she says the lower quality charter school operators are expanding more quickly.

Arrellano says research from Stanford University shows that charter school operators with less successful track records are actually expanding more quickly than those with better track records.

Education
3:34 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Former charter school director gets probation for lying about student enrollment

A charter school in Muskegon County will have to repay the state close to $30,000 that, technically, the school shouldn’t have gotten in the first place.

The more students a school has the more money it receives from the state.

Barbara Stellard, who directed Waypoint Academy from 2002 to 2010, was charged in October with multiple criminal charges for reporting more students than actually attended the charter school.

Michigan Attorney General’s office spokeswoman Joy Yearout says another employee at Waypoint told tipped the state off to the scam.

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Stateside
3:14 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Measuring how charter schools perform in Michigan

TeachingWorks aims develop a nationwide system for all teaching programs, so that teachers are prepared the minute they walk into the classroom.
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

In 2011, Governor Snyder signed a law to increase the number of charter school contracts around the state.

This bill allowed the state to have up 300 charter schools by the end of 2012.

And by the end of 2015, have unlimited caps.

When it comes to the topic of charter schools in Michigan, the question to be answered is whether there is an academic difference in charter schools operated by for-profit companies versus charters run by non-profits?

That question is the focus of a piece appearing in today's Bridge Magazine.

We spoke with Bridge writer Ron French and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Williams, from Public Sector Consultants.

They  gave us a rundown on charter schools in Michigan and how they compare with other states.

To hear the full story click the audio link above.

Education
6:04 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Stateside: Uncertified teachers at Muskegon Heights charter school system

The Muskegon Heights emergency manager and representatives of Mosaica Education.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

Lester Graham is filling in for Cynthia Canty on today's Stateside.

In her recent report, Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith found that teachers in the new charter school system in Muskegon Heights were hired without teacher certification.

The entire public school system in Muskegon Heights was recently turned over to a private company.

While there are teachers who do have certification, there are others who do not.

The question is, what will happen with those teachers that have not been certified?

We sat down with reporter Lindsey Smith, who joined us from Grand Rapids.

She told us how it became evident that there were uncertified teachers working in the school system. She also tells us what it was like speaking to the parents in Muskegon Heights and their reactions.

Politics & Government
7:58 am
Fri February 8, 2013

This morning's news: Snow across the state, Snyder's budget, and charter school unionization

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Snow blankets most of the state

Most of the Lower Peninsula is blanketed in snow as an overnight storm brought up to 9 inches in some areas, creating a potentially treacherous morning commute and causing many school districts to cancel classes. 

Three to 7 inches of snow are expected in parts of mid and West Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press. Areas of Southeast Michigan received up to 5 inches of snow. Parts of the northern Lower Peninsula could get up to 9 inches. 

Snow is expected to continue throughout the morning, and it should taper off by around noon, the paper reported. 

Gov. Snyder releases budget proposal

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder released his annual budget proposal Thursday morning. 

"Sixty-one percent of the total investments we’re recommending are either for savings or education. This is a responsible budget. This is a budget to look to that long term, and learn from our past mistakes," Snyder said in his announcement. 

Among his priorities were increasing taxes to help pay for upkeep of the state's roads. Snyder proposed raising the gas tax to 33 cents a gallon for all types of fuel. He also wants to raise vehicle registration fees. 

Michigan Radio's Mark Brush has a run down of Snyder's other budget priorities, which include increasing funding for all levels of education and expanding medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. 

Detroit charter school teachers vote to unionize

Teachers at Detroit's largest charter school voted overwhelmingly last night to be represented by a union. 

The teachers and staff at Cesar Chavez academy voted by a 2-1 margin to have the American Federation of Teachers represent them, Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports. 

Only a small number of Michigan’s charter schools have unionized employees.

Nate Walker is with the AFT. He expects teachers in some other Michigan charter schools will also unionize this year.

“I think in the future we can certainly expect more collective bargaining campaigns,” says Walker,  “But we can also expect charter school teachers to engage in the policy discussions that impact them.”

- Joseph Lichterman, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Education
10:17 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Detroit charter school teachers vote to unionize

The Cesar Chavez Academy high school campus in Detroit
chavezwaterman.com

Teachers in Detroit's largest charter school district voted last night to be represented by a union.

Cesar Chavez Academy teachers and staff voted two to one to have a unit of the American Federation of Teachers represent them.

Only a small number of Michigan’s charter schools have unionized employees.

Nate Walker is with the AFT. He expects teachers in some other Michigan charter schools will also unionize this year.

Education
7:23 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Muskegon Heights has high hopes for 3rd high school principal in 6 months

Incoming Muskegon Heights High School 'Head of School' Carla Turner-Laws poses for a photo.
Courtesy photo Mosaica Education

The new Muskegon Heights charter school district is welcoming yet another principal at its high school. Carla Turner-Laws is the third principal so far this school year. Technically, her title is Interim Head of School/Instructional Specialist.

A couple dozen people sharing cookies and pink fruit punch welcomed Turner-Laws at a reception Wednesday night. Most were fellow co-workers, friends and family members.

The MHPS district’s state-appointed emergency manager turned the entire district over to a charter school company last June.

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Politics & Government
6:45 am
Tue January 15, 2013

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Referendum campaign will try to block wolf hunts

After Governor Rick Snyder recently signed legislation opening up the doors to a possible wolf hunt in the state, a referendum campaign is trying to block the move. The Detroit News reports,

A petition committee, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, is attempting to gather 225,000 signatures in the next two and a half months for a statewide ballot question that would protect wolves from being hunted as a trophy animal.

Governor Snyder criticizes right to work as Pure Michigan ad

Governor Rick Snyder has criticized a Michigan Economic Development Corporation ad that ran in the Wall Street Journal that touts the new right to work legislation as "Pure Michigan. "Governor Snyder says he would not have singled out right-to-work. Instead, he says he hoped the ad would highlight a broad range of new economic policies," Jake Neher reports.

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Education
5:54 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Independent study shows glowing review of Michigan charter school success

Students in Muskegon Heights learn under a new charter academy school formed this summer.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Michigan students enrolled in charter schools learn more in a school year than those in comparable traditional public schools. That’s according to a study released Monday by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes.

Researchers at Stanford University looked at the state’s more than 250 charter schools over a five year period ending in 2010.

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Education
4:32 pm
Sun December 23, 2012

In the wake of right-to-work, Detroit charter school teachers press for union

The Cesar Chavez Academy high school campus in Detroit
Credit via www.chavezwaterman.com

Teachers and staff at a Detroit charter school are pressing forward with an effort to unionize.

Teachers at the Cesar Chavez Academy have filed to hold an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. They hope that will happen early next year.

Cesar Chavez serves more than 2000 students on several campuses in southwest Detroit. If a majority of their members votes to unionize, they will be represented by the American Federation of Teachers in Michigan.

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Education
6:30 am
Mon December 3, 2012

1 in 4 teachers at Muskegon Heights schools quit during first 3 months of school year

4th grade students at Edgewood Elementary School learn about philosophy through Mosaica's Paragon curriculum in late November 2012.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Over the summer Muskegon Heights schools’ then emergency manager laid off everybody who worked at the district and hired Mosaica Education to run operations for 5 years.

Muskegon Heights has some of the lowest performing schools in Michigan and is dealing with a multi-million dollar deficit. The state appointed manager says he had no other option but to privatize operations.

Three months in, one in four (20 of 80 total) of the newly hired teachers has quit.

“It’s confusing because I go from this learning process to this learning process to that learning process and it’s just ridiculous how some teachers leave and we have to start all over and learn something new,” Muskegon Heights High School senior Tony Harris said, “It’s just, it’s crazy.”

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Politics & Government
7:56 am
Mon November 19, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Proposed changes to K-12 education

There's a proposed bill being drafted that could make some major changes to K-12 education in Michigan. As the Detroit Free Press reports, highlights of the bill include, "[the ability for] students to choose school districts, make greater use of online learning and earn financial incentives of $2,500 per semester for completing high school early."

Charter school enrollment rises in Michigan

"Charter schools are becoming a more common choice for Michigan students. A new report finds five Michigan cities are now among the top 20 in the nation for the percentage students in charter schools. Detroit is No. 2 -- with 41 percent of its students enrolled in charter schools. Flint ranks fourth and Grand Rapids is ninth. Lansing and Traverse City are 19th and 20th,' Rina Miller reports.

Local government leaders want Michigan's personal property tax changed

"A new poll shows local government leaders in Michigan are leery of proposals to do away with Michigan’s personal property tax. Republican state lawmakers want to repeal or greatly change the tax, possibly before the end of this year. Businesses complain the personal property tax is cumbersome and discourages investment.  Legislation repealing the personal property tax already passed in the state Senate, but the legislation has sat in state House since last Spring," Steve Carmody reports.

Education
3:57 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Despite more school choice, Detroit parents still frustrated

A charter advocacy group gives Michigan's charter law a passing grade
Mercedes Mejia Michigan Radio

Eighty percent of Detroit parents say they do not believe the city's public schools are the best choice for their child. But they’re split on the other options as well.

A new survey from the Detroit News and the Thompson Foundation asks Detroit parents how they feel about their school choices.

Only one in five parents picked DPS as the best for their kid. But even with the recent increase in school options - charter, private, public schools outside the city - none was a clear winner.

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