MAPSA: Sen. Gretchen Whitmer Gets it Wrong; Parents Shouldn’t Be Punished for Charter School Choice

LANSING, Michigan (April 17, 2017) – The Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA), the state charter school association, is condemning recent remarks on charter schools made by former State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democratic candidate for governor.

Speaking to Crain’s Detroit Business for a story published on April 12, Whitmer said that if elected governor, she would treat charter public schools more harshly than traditional public schools. Whitmer used the word “pressure” to describe how she would punish charter schools, saying she would look to withhold state aid from them.

MAPSA President Dan Quisenberry responded to Whitmer’s remarks.

“While we understand that Sen. Whitmer is pandering to her political base, her remarks are troubling on several fronts,” Quisenberry said. “The fact that she would look to use the power of the governor’s office to punish parents who have made the choice of a charter public school for their children is beyond outrageous. It’s distressing that she seeks to treat charter public school students differently than traditional public school students. It would seem that instead of letting parents make the choice of a school, Sen. Whitmer wants to make that choice for them.

“We wonder how her remarks are going to play in a place like Detroit, where more than half the parents have chosen a charter public school for their children. Or Flint, where nearly 40 percent of parents have chosen a charter public school. We invite Sen. Whitmer to look those parents in the eye and tell them how she’s going to punish their child’s school.

“Instead of singling out charter public school students for harsher treatment, we would hope that Sen. Whitmer would work to raise student achievement in all public schools – charter and traditional. For instance, we invite her to join us in calling for an A-F accountability system for all public schools in Michigan – something that has been proven to raise student achievement in other states. That should be her focus.”