11 Michigan charter school authorizers “at risk” of being suspended

School desksEleven institutions that authorize charter schools in Michigan risk losing their ability to open new schools, according to state superintendent of schools Mike Flanagan.

The list includes Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Detroit Public Schools, and the Education Achievement Authority (EAA).

It’s a reaction to a recent Detroit Free Press series that suggested conflicts of interest, a lack of transparency, and mixed academic results in Michigan charters.

But it seems neither charter school supporters nor critics are happy with the announcement.

Groups advocating for charters question the methods Flanagan used to develop the list.

“He didn’t say, ‘How many of the schools in your portfolio have been chronically poor performing and you have neither intervened nor taken a close look at those schools?’ He merely aggregated every student within the portfolio and treated them as if they were (in) one single building,” said Gary Naeyaert, executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP), a lobbying group which advocates for charter schools.

“That’s not the proper way to address the academic performance of a portfolio of schools.”

Some charter school critics say Flanagan’s warning does not go far enough. They say bad charter schools and their authorizers should be shut down right away.

The state Board of Education on Tuesday will unveil its recommendations for dealing with bad charter schools.

A spokesperson for Superintendent Flanagan has not returned a request for comment.