New Charter Schools Authorizing Rules

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Michigan charter schools authorizers will now be following a new set of rules.

The new system was announced today. It's based on nine criteria that will be put into place during this school year. The head of the council for authorizers says it mirrors the model of higher education in the state.

“The standards are very clear and measurable,” said Tim Wood, executive director at the Grand Valley State University Charter School Office and vice chair of the MCCSA. “While many of the members of the Council of Authorizers already operate under high standards, this accreditation process requires all authorizers to follow and implement standards that will raise the bar for authorizing charter schools to be the highest in the nation.”

The nine standards in the accreditation program are:

1. Application
2. Performance Contracts
3. Transparency
4. Fiscal and Legal Compliance
5. Operations
6. Board Development
7. Reauthorization
8. Transfers
9. Closure and Interventions

Richard McLellan, one of the principal drafters of the original charter school law and member of the McPherson Commission on Charter Schools, recently released a draft review of Superintendent Flanagan’s actions to put 11 authorizers on an “At-Risk of Suspension” list and found the Superintendent’s action is subject to challenge.

“The McPherson Commission brought everyone in the education community together and recommended a certification process for authorizing charter schools in Michigan,” said McLellan. “Given where charter schools are today in Michigan, the McPherson’s recommendation stands the test of time. The Council of Authorizer’s creation of an accreditation system would help weed out the bad authorizers in Michigan and reinforce the good work of those authorizers dedicated to strong oversight and providing quality education.”