This Fall Will Be the First Time There are Fewer Charter Schools

'Flood' of charters claim doesn't hold water

The Michigan Education Association’s online magazine, the MEA Voice, recently claimed there has been a flood of charter schools in Michigan.

The August edition of the magazine said: “Michigan opened the charter school floodgates in 2011 by allowing unlimited numbers of for-profit operators to locate without controls — drawing some of the worst-performing charters into the poorest cities.”

ForTheRecord says: In the 2013-14 school year there were 298 charter schools in Michigan, according to the state of Michigan. The figure for 2015-16 was 302 charters. When the 2016-17 school year begins next week, Michigan will have 300 charter schools.

That number may grow to 302 by midyear, according to the Michigan Association of Public School Academies. If it does not, though, this year will mark the first time since charter schools opened here in 1993-94 that the number of Michigan charters goes down.

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Detroit Prep is a top-rated and economically and racially diverse charter school in the city. It's growth means it needs to move out from a church basement and into a new location. Nearby is a former Detroit Public Schools building, sitting empty for years. But, worried about competition, the public school district refused to sell. For years, district and local government officials in Detroit had worked to block public charter schools. They pushed legislation at the Michigan Capitol to hinder them, refused to sell to them, transferred surplus buildings from the district to the city government and imposed deed restrictions on property sales to private developers. All of it was aimed to hinder or even prevent charter school choice outside the confines of the Detroit school district.

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