Reporters at the Detroit Free Press have dug deep for the past year to uncover the facts surrounding how Michigan has spent $1 billion on charter schools, yet failed to hold them accountable for their results.
Among the investigation’s findings:
- Michigan’s charter schools spend $1 billion per year in state taxpayer money, often with little transparency.
- Some charter schools are innovative and have excellent academic outcomes — but those that don’t are allowed to stay open year after year.
- A majority of the worst-ranked charter schools in Michigan have been open 10 years or more.
- Charter schools as a whole fare no better than traditional schools in educating students in poverty.
- Michigan has substantially more for-profit companies running schools than any other state.
- Some charter school board members were forced out after demanding financial details from management companies.
- State law does not prevent insider dealing and self-enrichment by those who operate schools.
The investigative report contains loads of videos and source documents, as well as a close look at National Heritage Academies, a national charter operator that operates many of Michigan’s charter schools and has schools in North Carolina as well — and is looking to expand here in the Tar Heel state.
It’s an important and compelling read for anyone interested in public education, especially as North Carolina bears witness to a burgeoning charter school movement of its own.
Enjoy your holiday weekend!