This article was originally published by the Detroit News on Thursday, December 16, 2021. You can read the original article here.
Escuela Avancemos Academy is a charter school in southwest Detroit, located right in the shadow of the Ambassador Bridge. We serve almost 400 students, most of whom come from Spanish-speaking households, and almost all of whom are English language learners. These are the students who potentially fall through the cracks at other schools.
They don’t fall through the cracks in our school. They are at the forefront of every decision we make. In that regard, Escuela Avancemos has been a blessing for our students and their families. They love Escuela Avancemos, our small class sizes, student-focused learning, and they love the safe, family atmosphere we’ve created at our school.
And here’s the thing most of them probably don’t know: Had it not been for an act by the Michigan Legislature exactly 10 years ago this week, Escuela Avancemos would not exist. Escuela Avancemos Academy — and dozens of other high-performing, innovative charter schools — never would have been allowed to open.
Remarkable, right? That one piece of legislation could do all that?
At the time, the state had placed an arbitrary “cap” on the number of university-authorized charter schools in the state. Since the vast majority of charter schools in the state are authorized by state universities, this cap was significant.
The cap number was 150 charter schools, and once the state hit that number, no more university-authorized schools were allowed to open.