Charter Schools in Question

By: Katie Kim Email
By: Katie Kim Email

There is big debate on the number of charter schools in Michigan. Gary Naeyaert from the Michigan Association of Public School Academies told us the House wants to restrict the number and close the bottom 5% every year. The Senate wants an unlimited number of charter schools.

Ed Sarpolus from the Michigan Education Association said restricting the number of charters is a good idea because only one out of five is doing better than regular public schools.

"You're just adding to the problem," said Sarpolus. "For example, we have budget cuts right now. Adding more buildings is not going to fix or improve education."

Naeyaert disagrees.

"Charter school students on average overperform academically students in similar traditional school districts," said Naeyaert. "So we are taking students who are behind grade level and we are bringing them farther along in terms of proficiency and growth, and helping them become college and career ready."

Naeyaert also said charter schools serve as a better alternative for low income families who cannot afford to send their children to private schools. He's looking for a compromise between the House and Senate plans.

"What we want is modest charter school expansion based on quality," said Naeyaert. "Federal guidelines for the 'race to the top' competition, you will not many points if your state is hindering the growth of high quality charters."

Sarpolus said he thinks the charter schools have a hidden agenda.

"It has to do about expanding business. What we are saying is expansion needs to be based on quality," said Sarpolus.

Both sides agree the legislature needs to compromise to improve education in Michigan.


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