A photo of several African American students bundled up in winter coats, sporting yellow

The great debate:

Why are charters so politicized?

For charter families and educators, their school isn't political - but charters continue to be at the forefront of controversy.

For many families, charter schools are a unique option for innovative education, bridging quality and access. Without having to move to an expensive suburb or pay high private education fees, families can make a choice between their district school and a charter - ultimately choosing the one that is the best fit for their student.

So what are the issues?

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Choice
What if more than one public education option takes away from the wellbeing of the entire system, especially the district schools?

fact check:

Charter schools add another layer of accessibility to public education. In many cases, the success of a charter school pushes a district school to see success of its own.

An image of a large, empty, modern conference room with large windows around the perimeter.
Boards
Because charter school boards are appointed and not elected, how can they be ethical and fair?

fact check:

While charter schools are not elected, they are appointed with careful consideration. Often, they are the same type of business people, concerned parents and community members who serve on district boards. 

A photo of a male teacher instructing several students in a classroom.
Teachers
Are there accredited, certified teachers in every single charter school classroom?

fact check:

Every single teacher in a charter school is certified by the State of Michigan. However, the charter school model simply empowers them to innovate new models of instruction, evaluation and student support. 

An artistic photo of a man making notes on a piece of paper.
Management Companies
Because management companies profit from the services they provide to schools, are charter schools in for the kids or for the money?

fact check:

Management companies are an external service provider for charter schools. Like most schoolbook, meal service and supply service companies that work with district schools, they are for-profit. But this in no-way impacts the nonprofit status of charters.

A photo of a young African American boy taking a test.
Testing
If charters have more flexibility than​ traditional district schools, are they held to the same accountability and testing standards?

fact check: 

Though charters pioneer innovative and dynamic education styles, they are held to the same testing and reporting standards as district schools. You can view their testing data alongside district data on the Michigan Parent Transparency Dashboard. 

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Funding
Since many charters have an innovative curriculum and dynamic facilities, they must receive higher funding than traditional district schools.

fact check:  

Charter schools, just like district public schools, recieve public funding dollars per-pupil. On average, a Michigan charter school student is funded 20% less than a traditional public school student.

Legislators regularly attack charter school funding

"Charter schools are simply stealing our hard earned tax dollars, which are meant to educate our students in traditional public schools."

1

Kristy Pagan
Michigan State Rep. (District 21)

But this misinformation is just that: misinformation.  

The facts speak for themselves. We're not hiding from those statements. In fact, we'd like you to be informed - about our highly qualified teachers, about our dedicated boards, and about our commitment to accountability.

Visit our FAQ page now. 

A photo of  (left to right) Central Academy of Ann Arbor principal Luay Shalabi, support staff Nahla Attar, and Parent Coordinator Nadia Hasan.

The success stories speak volumes

For every single one of those hot-button issues, there are countless amazing stories of overcoming odds, beating circumstance and realizing dreams. 

Check out just a few now.

A photo of charter alumna and GVSU Academic Advisor, V'Lecea Hunter (center), surrounded by students she has mentored.

But we can't be silent on these issues

If we want to continue to see growth in the public education sector, and help charter schools prosper, it is critical that we use our collective voices to fight misinformation and share our successes.

Learn how to get involved.

A photo of West Michigan Aviation Academy school leader, and 2018 Charter School Administrator of the Year recipient, Pat Cwayna, surrounded by students at a pep rally.

Legislators use misinformation to encourage decreased funding for charters 

“Charter schools don't have the costs of operating a bus system or special education programs, and aren't held to the same accountability or performance standards.”

A photo of Curtis Hertel Jr., Michigan State Senator (District 25).

Curtis Hertel Jr. 
Michigan State Senator (District 25)

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