Charter school veto an attack on Detroit students

Nov 4, 2019 by

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s recent decision to use her line-item veto to nix a $240-per-pupil funding increase for Michigan’s public charter schools was wrong on many levels.

Most obviously, it’s unfair to charters, since the Legislature originally approved a funding increase for all public schools. Since the students that Michigan’s charters serve are disproportionately poor and black, however, it’s also deeply inequitable. And of course, since 46% of Detroit students enrolled in a charter last year — versus 10% of all Michigan students — the decision has particularly unfortunate consequences for the city and families that helped get Whitmer elected.

Perhaps the governor is just looking for leverage in ongoing budget negotiations. But even if that’s so, the game she’s playing is a dangerous one. In recent years, dozens of studies have found that black and Latino students in charter schools make substantially more academic progress than those in traditional public schools — especially in major cities like Detroit. Furthermore, a growing body of research suggests that achievement in district-run schools increases in response to charter competition — contrary to the assertions of charter opponents.

Logically, those two strands of research imply that an increase in the percentage of students who attend charter schools should lead to systemic gains — that is, to an overall increase in achievement. So to test that hypothesis, in a recently published study, I analyzed the relationship between the rise in “charter market share” in hundreds of school districts across the country and the average reading and math achievement of all publicly enrolled students in those districts — including those in traditional public schools.

Source: Opinion: Charter school veto an attack on Detroit students

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.