Many states have huge education budget gaps to fill, so to boost their numbers many states have lifted their cap on charter schools allowing for more private funding. My opinion on this is that it’s great that more schools are popping up but like everything we need to be cautious. Privatization does allow for competition but it also loses ethics and morals.
One such state is Michigan.
Michigan could be poised to add more charter schools under legislation that narrowly passed the state Senate on Thursday.
The bill, approved 20-18 with some Republicans joining Democrats in opposition, advances to the state House. It’s one of many bills pending in the Legislature that supporters say are aimed at increasing choices for Michigan students attending public schools.
The Senate bill would end numerical and geographical limits on charter schools, including the current cap of 150 university-sponsored charter schools.
The state now has about 250 charter schools or public school academies.
“By offering opportunity to parents and students across the state for potentially a different educational environment, everybody wins,” said Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township and a key sponsor of the bills.
A provision drawing the strongest criticism — allowing public school districts to contract out to hire teachers in the same way they now can privatize some non-instructional services — was dropped from the Senate plan Thursday.
But Democrats remain opposed to the bills, saying they appear to be an effort to help charter schools — often run by for-profit companies.
Public schools get state financial aid based on how many students attend. If a student goes to a charter school, the money follows the student.
“All we’re doing is subsidizing these for-profit ventures and diverting scarce resources from our neighborhood, locally governed public schools,” said Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor.
Democrats also said the legislation lacks adequate protections to ensure the quality of charter schools. Republicans supporting the bill counter that it requires charter contract renewals to be based predominantly on improved student academic achievement.
The Michigan Association of Public School Academies, which represents charter schools, said the Senate vote “has put us one step closer to the day when parents throughout the state will be able to choose the education that best fits the needs of their children.”
The charter school bill is among several pending in the Senate that supporters say would allow more choice.
The bill’s prospects in the House are uncertain.
Other bills that Republicans are working on would let students transfer to other public schools more easily by requiring districts with space to participate in Michigan’s schools of choice program.