Michigan's Charter Schools

are transforming education across the state, providing access to quality learning opportunities regardless of race, zip code, educational needs or income level.

What is a charter school?

Charter schools are free, independently-operated public schools that have the flexibility and autonomy to meet their students' needs. 

Find a charter school near you.

20%

less funding per pupil compared to students in traditional public schools

300

charter schools in Michigan serving over 150,000 students.

32%

more cost-effective than the average traditional public school in the same city

MI Charter History 

In 1994, Governor John Engler, along with other state leaders, had a bold vision for a better education future in Michigan. 25 years later, that vision is realized in over 300 charter schools across the state.

A photo of former Michigan Governor, John Engler.
Law & first charters

1994

Governor John Engler signs the charter schools legislation into law. That fall, Michigan’s first nine charter schools open their doors.

A photo of MAPSA President, Dan Quisenberry (left) and MAPSA Director of Membership, Heather Risner (right).
MAPSA

1996

The Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA) is formed, giving the state’s charter schools a united voice.

A photo of MAPSA President, Dan Quisenberry, speaking on stage with a male guest.
100 school milestone

1997

Michigan reaches 100 charter schools, as the 1997-98 school year begins with 106 charter schools. 

A historic photo of three young charter school female students.
The charter cap 

1999

150 schools open across the state, thanks to parental demand and support, officially reaching the mandated "cap" for charter schools.

A photo of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
The cap is lifted

2011

After a decade of hard work, Governor Rick Snyder passed legislation to remove the limit on new charter schools. 

We believe in different 

Michigan's diverse and innovative charter schools shape dynamic and creative learning opportunities that meet the needs of every student, helping them realize their goals, passions, and highest potential.

Flexible Innovation

Our innovative teaching styles and campuses empower educators to push the boundaries of traditional teaching.

Meaningful Success

Our success is reflected in our students' performance and growth. We believe in a holistic and engaging experience.

Empowered Choice

We believe that meaningful partnerships between parents and educators help uncover the best school option for every student.

Professional

Michigan charter schools provide an environment that empowers educators to make choices that impact student outcomes through innovative pedagogies, strategies and projects. 

Choice-driven

Michigan charter schools offer parents, regardless of residence, race, wealth or heritage, diverse, high quality, equitably-funded educational options. 

Innovative

Michigan charter schools champion systems of evaluation that measure meaningful student and instructor growth, utilizing strategies that allow for innovation.

Flexible

Michigan charter schools provide freedom, resources and access that empowers the school, teachers and communities to deliver diverse and innovative opportunities to all students.

Student-centric

Michigan charter schools treat each student as an individual, shaping their educational experience in a way that suits their learning style, supports holistic student success and embraces their uniqueness.

Accountable

Michigan charter schools continually demonstrate high performance in key student success measures, anchored by a robust system of multiple authorizers that enables dynamic reform. 

We know these things work - our success is widespread and consistent. 

Read charter success stories
A photo of Kristy Pagan, who represents the 21st District in the Michigan House of Representatives.

The unfortunate reality for charter schools

Although charter schools are often a welcomed choice by many families and parents in Michigan, they continue to be at the forefront of political battles at both the federal and local levels.

Understand the political climate

Real families, real stories

I absolutely love our principal, staff & students! One graduate down, two to go!

Sue Fermanian
AGBU Alex & Marie Manoogian School, Southfield

We can't praise Light Of The World Academy enough for these hands-on learning experiences for our son. Montessori rocks!

Katie Pavlik Gailitis
Light of the World Academy, Pinckney

I've always been proud to say that I went through Chatfield from K-8, and I'm happy that my brother is following in my footsteps. Chatfield is truly a wonderful school.

Sophia Phillips
The Chatfield School, Lapeer

The staff in this building are amazing. They barely knew me when tragedy struck my life for the second time within a year, yet they carried me through my darkest hours. I have never felt so loved and appreciated by an employer! 

Heidi Sych
Grand Traverse Academy, Traverse City

My youngest is graduating from Merritt Academy this year. Merritt has been a part of our lives for since he was 4 years old, and I will truly miss the school and staff. I cannot say enough about how this school has prepared both of my children for their future. Thank you!

Pamela Schultz
Merritt Academy, New Haven