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DFER MI Urges Lawmakers & Districts to Act on CREDO Data Showing Gains in MI Charter Schools

Democrats for Education Reform Urges Lawmakers and School Districts to Act on Latest Data from Stanford Showing Student Gains in Michigan Charter Schools

Lansing, Mich. January 15, 2013 - Democrats for Education Reform Michigan (DFER MI) released the following statement by State Director Harrison Blackmond urging lawmakers and school districts to act on findings released yesterday by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) showing students in Michigan public charter schools, on average, achieve larger learning gains in reading and math than their traditional district school peers.

“Overall, the study clearly demonstrates the promise of charter schools with proper oversight and accountability to transform the way we educate our children. Michigan and our school districts have a responsibility to review these data—which place Michigan among the highest performing charter school states CREDO has studied—closely and use it to guide our education policies.

“However, the study also reflects the performance of charter schools under the old Michigan law which limited the number of charters that could be issued. Without proper oversight, the new law—a law that does not limit the amount of charters that may be issued—must be closely monitored to ensure competition and performance don’t decline.

“Furthermore, the study's focus on averages may hide disparities in charter school performance. For example, the data indicate that a quarter of the charter schools studied have very low achievement and student growth. After nearly two decades of state policy that has given little consideration to quality, it's clear that charter school expansion alone will not improve our state's education system or close our achievement gap.

“There are many successful charter schools in our state, but there are also poor performers. We should not support the ones that are not meeting the needs of our students. Charter operators with records of consistent failure should not be allowed to expand. We need quality charter expansion that builds on what we know is working, to ensure that every student in Michigan and across the country has access to a world-class education.”