MAPSA Responds to Dr. Nikolai Vitti Saying He Wants DPSCD-Authorized Charter Schools to Close

LANSING, Michigan – Dr. Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), said in two interviews in the past week that he wants the DPSCD to stop authorizing charter schools, and that he wants to let all current charter contracts expire, which would result in the closure of those charter schools at the end of their contracts.

DPSCD currently authorizes 14 charter schools in Detroit, including some of the highest-performing schools of any type in the city. Below is a statement on Dr. Vitti’s comments from Dan Quisenberry, President of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA), the state charter school association.

“I hope we can all agree that we want every child to have a seat in a high-performing school, which is why we find Dr. Vitti’s comments to be a bit confusing and troubling,” Quisenberry said. “Some of the highest-performing schools in the city are charter schools authorized by the Detroit Public Schools Community District. How is it benefitting students if you want to close those schools?

“For example, look at the Martin Luther King Jr. Education Center Academy, a charter school on the city’s northwest side that’s authorized by DPSCD. By any metric, that’s one of the highest-performing schools not just in Detroit, but also in the entire state. They rank in the 38th percentile on the state’s top-to-bottom list, far above most every other school in Detroit. The Mackinac Center ranks MLK as the No. 1 school in the state when you factor in the impact of the students’ economic background.

“It’s an excellent school, yet Dr. Vitti is proposing that the Martin Luther King Jr. Education Center Academy be closed when the school’s contract expires. Does he really want that school to close, or is he saying he’ll work with us to find another authorizer for it? I’m sure the students and parents at that school would love to hear his answer.

“Dr. Vitti has more than 40 traditional schools in his district that are in the bottom 5 percent of all schools in the state, more than half of which are subject to automatic closure. Shouldn’t those schools be his focus?

“We hope Dr. Vitti is able to clarify his thoughts, and we look forward to working with him to ensure that every child in Detroit has a seat in a high-quality school.”