Critic Cites Performance In Other States To Attack Michigan Charters

Implies that charters with 9 percent of state enrollment drag down the other 1.5 million students

Alan Singer is an education professor at Hofstra University in New York, and as a contributor to the Huffington Post, he has written numerous posts attacking public charter schools.

In an attack Singer posted on Nov. 9 he wrote, “As a result of ‘charterization,’ Michigan declined from being an average performing state on math and reading tests to one of the worst.”

ForTheRecord says: There are 145,000 students attending Michigan public charter schools, and 1.5 million students in the state’s conventional public schools. That means charter enrollment accounts for about 9 percent of all public school pupils.

For Singer’s argument to be correct would require 10 percent all public school students in Michigan — those attending charters — to account for all of the state’s underperformance.

But in 2013, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes found that students in Michigan charter schools gained about two additional months of learning in reading and math compared to peers in conventional public schools.

Then, in 2015, Stanford-based CREDO reported that charter school students in Detroit performed better in reading and math testing than their conventional public school peers.

CREDO stated that Detroit was one of four communities of charter schools whose “commitments to quality that can serve as models to other communities.”

So on what basis did Singer ignore CREDO’s research?

He cited a statement in the 2015 CREDO report on urban communities. It said, “Despite the overall positive learning impacts, there are urban communities in which the majority of the charter schools lag the learning gains of their TPS (traditional public school) counterparts, some to distressingly large degrees.”

But the communities Singer pointed to aren’t in Michigan.

Singer also claimed that CREDO’s research was faulty.

“CREDO looks at broad numbers and does not offer explanations,” Singer said in an email. “My examination of Success Academy in NYC in the article suggests their numbers are distorted through exclusion, expulsion, and test prep.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.