September 16, 2023

Shawgi Tell: Michigan: 36 Charter Schools Failing

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The charter sector may be making money in Betsy DeVos’s home state of Michigan, but it isn’t doing much educating. Shawgi Tell reports.

About eight months ago, the Michigan Department of Education revealed that at least 36 charter schools are failing in the state of Michigan. Many other charter schools are considered close to “low-performing.” This is not a small number of charter schools. It is not unreasonable to assume that several dozen more charter schools are in troubled waters (see herehere, and here).

The vast majority of charter schools in Michigan are openly for-profit charter schools. A chaotic “Wild West” pro-competition ethos prevails in the state because of the proliferation of such deregulated schools governed by unelected private persons. Parents and students are expected to fend-for-themselves like shoppers and consumers. Nothing is guaranteed in such a set up. A February 2023 news article reports that:

Once again, Michigan has the dubious distinction of being the state with the highest percentage of charter schools run by for-profit corporations in the nation. Eighty-one percent of Michigan’s nearly 300 charter schools contract with private management companies, often referred to as Charter Management Organizations (CMO).

These private companies routinely engage in a range of shady real estate transactions and self-dealing to maximize profit at the expense of kids. To be sure, nepotism, patronage, corruption, and fraud are more intense in the charter school sector than other sectors in society. Charter schools are also notorious for having weak accountability and transparency. Secrecy is a priority.

Charter schools have long over-promised and under-delivered.

Read the full article here. 


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