News Story

State Board Of Education Vice President Repeats Erroneous Charter School Slam

No, they can’t pick and choose from students

The vice president of the Michigan Board of Education echoed oft-repeated erroneous claims about the state’s charter schools during a recent Zoom meeting.

State board member Pamela Pugh, a Democrat from Saginaw, said that charter schools can pick and choose which students they will accept.

“We know that there issue of special needs children — in this case, many times, traditional districts, in general, are serving more special needs children than the charter schools. They have the opportunity to select in that way. I could go on and on,” Pugh said at a Nov. 23 discussion held on Zoom by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

According to the Michigan Department of Education, however, charter schools cannot be selective in who they accept as students.

The department asks on its website: “May a charter school be selective in its admissions policy?”

It answers: “Except as prescribed in law, a charter school may not be selective in its enrollment process. It may not screen out students based on disability, race, religion, gender, test scores, etc. It may predetermine the ages, grades, and a number of students it will serve. A random selection process must be used if the number of applicants exceeds the school’s enrollment capacity.”

Pugh didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. The Michigan Department of Education referred to its website statement.

Pugh was elected to the state school board in 2014.

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.