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.


less funding per pupil compared to students in traditional public schools


charter schools in Michigan serving over 150,000 students.


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


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).


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


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 


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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

Real families, real stories

I teach at a charter school because I TRULY believe in my schools mission and we are a culture of innovators, and boldly believe that families, students and staff have the ideas that will change the world of our students!

Erika Dietz
Distinctive College Prep, Harper Woods

I love teaching at MY charter vs a traditional school because I know that parents are choosing us because they believe we can give their students something more than others might. That choice is something that motivates all of us here as teachers to make sure that we are giving everything we can to that family. I work with an entire staff of selfless, hardworking people. I am so lucky.

Heather Garner
West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science, Walker

I teach in a charter because I believe in what they stand for. Charters want families to have the option to select which school will best meet the needs of their student.

Renee Wendt
Dove Academy of Detroit, Detroit

I chose to work within the Charter School system because I believe in free choice. I believe in the ability to make a difference in the lives of our students and know that the parents I serve are making that choice with me.

Cheryl Paull
Macomb Montessori Academy, Warren

I love Charter School Teachers because of their willingness to try new innovative plans and implementations in order to achieve the desired outcome. Charter School Teachers are committed to do WHATEVER it takes to impact a child's academic and social well-being.

Tricia Osborne
Madison Academy, Burton

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 charter fight