Friday, December 16, 2011

Governor is considering his options with the charter school bill

Governor Snyder is giving consideration to both the Charter School bill as well as the domestic partnership bill. He may still be influenced by emails and phone calls.

Michigan PTA Statement on Charter School Expansion

December 15, 2011
Michigan PTA Statement on
Michigan Charter School Expansion Vote
Today the Michigan Legislature passed Senate Bill 618, which removes the cap for Charter Schools in Michigan .  Michigan PTA supports efforts to improve our state’s public education system to provide every child with a quality education.
Michigan PTA is not opposed to Charter Schools or a parent and student’s right to choice.  We are opposed to the creation of Charter Schools that can possibly have a negative impact on our public school system.  Senate Bill 618 lacks accountability to guarantee that new charters opening are run by effective authorizers and operators with track records of success.  We are encouraged to see that this new legislation acknowledges the issue of quality and calls for the development of a work group to examine the issue of quality.
Michigan PTA will continue to advocate for improvements in our state’s public education system.  Every present and future student of Michigan deserves a quality education.  We only get one opportunity at educating a child; we must ensure that the opportunity is not wasted on a game of chance.
Shaton Berry President

Michigan Parent Teacher Association 
1390 Eisenhower Place, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108
Phone: 734-975-9500 - Fax: 734-677-2407
Web site:

Online Petition asking Governor Snyder to Veto The Lifting of the Charter Cap

Our own Tina Murua has set up an online petition.  Please take a look below.

"Dear Governor Snyder,
Please veto Senate Bill 618.  I am appalled at the continued assault on the public schools.  SB 618, which lifts the cap on charter schools, will siphon funds from the public schools and line the pockets of for-profit charter operators.  The bill does nothing to address inequities in the quality of education available to the children of Michigan.  Under the bill, the charter schools do not have nearly the accountability that traditional public schools have.  There is no requirement that they open only in struggling school districts.  There is no requirement that the operators demonstrate a track record that is better than that of the schools they are supposed to be offering an alternative to.

I applaud efforts to improve public education in this state, but this bill does exactly the opposite.  At a time when the Public Schools are supposed to be consolidating services and reducing budgets, adding more schools and a whole other administrative construct seems both penny and pound foolish.  Again, I urge you to veto SB 618."

House Votes to Lift Charter Cap, Awaits Governor signature

Sunday, December 11, 2011

STOP SB 618!

If you have not already contacted your state representative (for most of us, that’s Lisa Lyons, but after the next election cycle, it will be Peter MacGregor, so it is worth contacting him, as well) about SB 618, please do so today.  If you have already contacted them, please consider contacting them again.  SB 618 will eliminate caps on the number of charter schools that may operate in this state.  Charter schools will even be allowed to operate in districts that are well-performing.  The competition that charter schools foster is competition for rather scarce dollars.  So far, they have not proven to be the panacea for failing schools that they were promised to be.  Here are some facts that you may not know about charter schools:

Charter schools in Michigan are NOT performing at or above the districts from which they draw students.  In fact, 75% of Public School Academies (PSAs) in Michigan are in the BOTTOM quartile of districts and buildings!

Charter schools in Michigan DO NOT provide equitable special education services based on student needs as required by Federal law.  In terms of actual services delivered, charter schools offer less than 25% of the special education services that traditional schools within Kent ISD offer.

Charter schools in Michigan – as compared to the districts from which they draw students – ARE NOT serving higher need students or students of more diversity; most diverse PSAs are VERY homogeneous.
Michigan provides much more publicly funded parent choice already than do most other states in the United States. 

Ask your legislator why Michigan would enact a policy to create more one-building schools at a time when many of our districts are facing significant deficits.  Why would Michigan expand one-building districts when traditional schools are being encouraged to consolidate operations?  Most importantly, why would Michigan lawmakers allow an unlimited number of schools that are failing our students at a MUCH higher rate than traditional public schools?

When you talk to your legislator, explain that any expansion of charter schools should be limited to districts where there are persistently low performing buildings with the provision that new charter operators demonstrate a track record of success and commit to providing the same level of service – transportation, food service, special education -- as the schools they are replacing.   Our reforms should be focused on quality, not quantity.  The charter school choices offered to parents must be better than the traditional schools they are seeking to leave. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Alert From Friends of Kent County Schools

Please call your state representative about the charter school bill TODAY!!
In the last week, we've asked you to make phone calls to the House urging a no vote on Senate Bill 618, the bill that expands the number of university charter schools without regard to quality. We're asking, once again, that you make this call. It's important that we keep pressure on state legislators to look at policy rather than politics when making decisions about the future of education in our state.

Friends of Kent County Schools opposes the legislation because it seeks quantity over quality in charter school expansion. Weeks of testimony from high performing charters illuminated that there are bright spots in the charter industry. But what isn't talked about is the fact that many charter schools operate on the persistently low achieving list and leave thousands of students behind. We need safeguards in the bill to ensure that only the best of the best are allowed to replicate and only in areas of the highest need. Legislators have promised a subcommittee to deal with quality. These quality safeguards must be a part of the bill, not part of a politically motivated exercise. Several times during the hearings on this bill, amendments were offered to address the quality concerns-they were defeated. Additionally, the bill removes any requirement for charter schools and cyber schools to report to the Michigan Department of Education on success.
EMAIL your representative NOW! Make sure they know where you stand and how important it is to oppose this bill.  Click here  to find your state representative by zip code.
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Phone: 616.240.2256