A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

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Superintendents' Letter About Charter Schools 'Incredibly Misleading'

12 superintendents sign statement with 'completely inaccurate' claim

A letter-to-the-editor signed by 12 Michigan superintendents attacking Senate bills that support expanding charter and cyber schools contained statements that were “incredibly misleading,” according to Michael Van Beek, education policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

The letter appeared in the Paw Paw Courier Leader and criticized Senate Bills 618-624.

One paragraph in the letter claimed Senate Bill 621 would allow students who do not attend public school to go to public schools, including charter public schools outside their district, as a “as a roundabout way to enact vouchers (public tax dollars paid to private schools). Eleven years ago, Michigan voters firmly refused to pay vouchers at the ballot box.”

Currently, students who don't attend public school can attend one that offers a course that is considered noncore. That public school gets pro-rated state funding for taking in that student, Van Beek said.

Van Beek added that the funding follows the student to whatever public school he or she attends, such as a charter school.

The letter’s claim that “public tax dollars paid to private schools” is “completely inaccurate,” Van Beek said. “Remember, these (charter schools) are public schools.”

Jeff Mills, the superintendent for the Van Buren Intermediate School District and one of the 12 superintendents who signed the letter, said in an email he would review Van Beek’s claim with his education staff members.

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See also:

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Public School District 'Strikes Out' on Criticism of Charter Schools

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The Republicans Who Blocked Charter School Choice

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Democratic Proposal: Charter Public Schools Must Outperform Conventional School Test Scores by 20 Percent

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