Democrats to push new charter school regulations in Legislature

file2031249322959State lawmakers are looking for ways to address concerns about Michigan’s charter schools.

A recent Detroit Free Press investigation suggests serious issues in the schools, including a lack of transparency, mixed academic results, and conflicts of interest.

Democrats in the Legislature are working on bills that would require charter school operators to share more information with the public.

“This isn’t simply something that anyone should be able to look at the problems that have been uncovered in this investigation and suggest that doing nothing is an acceptable response from the Legislature,” said Robert McCann, a spokesperson for state Senate Democrats.

“It’s clear we have to take action here. And we’re going to be calling on the majority party to do that.”

Democrats have already introduced Senate Joint Resolution R, which would create a state constitutional ban on for-profit operation of charter schools. But McCann admits Republican legislative leaders are not likely to embrace that plan.

“This isn’t something that needs to be partisan,” he said. “This isn’t something that should be. But it’s very clear action needs to be taken, and we’re going to be pushing for that.”

A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says he’s also looking into possible legislative action in response to the Free Press reports.

Charter school supporters say Michigan’s laws are already strict enough. They say most charters are giving families a quality alternative to traditional public schools.