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Charter School Facts

Learn the ABC's of Charter Public Schools in Michigan!

Charter Schools in Michigan

  • Since the first charter public school opened in Michigan in 1994, they have become a popular and successful educational choice for many families.
  • There are currently about 300 charter schools in Michigan, educating more than 9 percent of students in the state.
  • Research shows that charter schools in Michigan are delivering on the promise that innovation, autonomy and accountability will result in increased student achievement.
  • A study released in 2013 by Stanford University's CREDO Institute revealed that the typical charter school student in Michigan gains an additional two months of learning every year in English and math. In Detroit, it's an additional three months of learning.
  • Charter schools are extremely popular in Michigan and nationally. A poll conducted in late 2011 by MRG showed that 77% of state residents favor charters. A national Gallup Poll released that year showed that 70% of Americans favor charter schools. That number has steadily risen every year.

What is a Charter School Like?

  • Charter schools serve elementary, middle and high school students -- or any combination of those.  Every charter is different, but most share basic traits:
  • They're small, so students spend more time one-on-one with their teachers.
  • Charters stress high expectations for all students, and the tight-knit environments help children excel.
  • Teachers, administrators and parents work together to support students and learning. There's a sense of community and constant collaboration.
  • Decisions and policies focus on students and learning.  Because charters are independent public schools – not part of a larger district – teachers and administrators are free to act quickly and with innovative solutions as they monitor achievement and see what's needed to help the children.

Who Charter Teachers Are

  • Charter teachers must meet state and federal certification requirements.
  • Teachers say they enjoy working in a charter school environment because it allows them to adapt quickly to changing situations, giving them the freedom to do what's best for their students. Bureaucracy and red tape are greatly reduced in a charter school.

How Accountable Charter Schools Are

  • Charter schools have several layers of oversight and accountability. The schools are accountable to their public school boards, and the boards are accountable to the public body that authorizes the school – a public university, community college, intermediate or local school district. Authorizers are further accountable to the state.
  • No other public schools are scrutinized like charters are. Charter authorizers have staffs that monitor the schools and ensure compliance with lengthy, written performance contracts. Charters keep their contracts if they are academically and fiscally sound.
  • The state also has staff assigned to monitor charters. This staff produces an annual report to the Legislature about charter schools, providing a review that exists nowhere else in public education.
  • Charter schools have publicly appointed boards, and of course, they exist only if they serve families well and parents continue to enroll their children.


View the accountability structure for Michigan's charter schools.

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