Selected readings on US charter schools
The report’s lead author, Gary Miron, a professor of evaluation, measurement and research at Western Michigan University, said Michigan stands out as an anomaly with 79 percent of its charter schools operated by for-profit companies and 10 percent operated by nonprofits, data from 2011-12 shows.
Michigan has 204 schools operated by private education management companies, known as EMOs. Some of the larger for-profits in Michigan include National Heritage Academies in Grand Rapids, which operates 68 schools with 44,338 students. CS Partners in Hartland operates 18 charters with an enrollment of 5,556. In Detroit, Evans Solution Management operates 10 schools with 979 students.
Miron said across the nation schools managed by for-profit firms, such as K12 Inc., National Heritage Academies and Charter Schools USA, as well as nonprofit education management organizations such as KIPP, continue to increase the number of students they enroll — despite a scarcity of evidence showing results.
“The real growth in the for-profit sector is with companies that operate virtual schools,” Miron said of the nation. “The growth of virtual schools, which is fueled by millions in advertising dollars, is astounding because of the sketchy academic results reported by the schools that operate online.”
Buddy Moorehouse, spokesman for the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, said it doesn’t matter who runs a school. “What matters is achievement, and the for-profit companies manage some of the highest achieving and best schools in Michigan — charter or otherwise. Parents don’t care who’s running the school. They only care how well their child is doing,” Moorehouse said.
Moorehouse said public-private partnerships exist everywhere in Michigan, including in higher education, highway construction and health care.
Source: The Detroit News – by Jennifer Chambers