2017 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 0%
Charter Schools Score: 82%
Although Michigan’s grade dropped this year from an A to a B, the state remains high on CER’s list at number four.
This year’s rankings place more emphasis on the degree to which charter schools are regulated. In Michigan, charters are highly regulated and funding for facilities is limited. Nevertheless, the law allows for multiple, strong authorizers, which secures Michigan a place in the top five.
The strength of Michigan’s charter school law stems from the strength of its university authorizers, which include Central Michigan University and Grand Valley State University. Early pioneers in the charter movement, Michigan universities have built their own chartering processes over the years, along with data and assessment dashboards that allow them to track progress in real time. Despite the strength of its authorizers, Michigan’s charter sector has received negative (often invalid) attention in the past year, resulting in limited growth in the charter sector, especially in communities where charters are most in demand.
- Fast Facts
- Law passed in 1993
- Number of Charters: 300
- Estimated Charter Enrollment: 146,100 (Down 2 percent from 2015-16)
- Michigan has one of the Highest Charter School Closure Rates in the Country at 22 percent, demonstrating that multiple authorizers take the performance of charter schools seriously and that charter schools can and are held to a high standard of accountability
- Michigan has no caps but on the number of brick and mortar charter schools but does cap the number of virtual charters
- Charter Schools do not receive facilities funding
- Michigan allows contracts with a variety of education service providers
- Michigan scores a perfect 15 of 15 for “multiple and independent authorizers.” Its authorizers operate free from the laws and regulations of the state education department. This independence allows authorizers (mostly universities) to use the logistical capacity and experience they already have in administering programs and being publicly accountable to constituents, students and staff.
- Despite slowed growth in some places, the capacity for growth and expansion in Michigan’s law earns the state a relatively high score on this measure. However, there is a state cap on all but reservation- and district-based authorizers. Lifting the state cap would spur new and necessary growth.
- Operationally, Michigan’s schools are not exempt from most state regulations. Instead, schools have to request a waiver of specific regulations from the state. Charter school effectiveness is linked to the amount of autonomy and flexibility that schools have. Although the state has a history of approving most waiver requests, a blanket waiver, allowed by law, would be a boon to the charter sector.
- Charter schools in Michigan receive the foundation allowance that any traditional public school in the state county would receive (around $8000 per pupil). However, charter schools do not receive any per-pupil facilities funding from the state, nor do they receive any additional state aid for facilities (localities support facilities with local tax dollars). This lack of facilities funding results in great inequities for charter school students.
Online Learning Score: 75%
Michigan is home to one of the nation’s largest state virtual schools — Michigan Virtual School — as well as a large district consortium with over 500 participating districts. Michigan was one of the first states in the U.S. to require high school grades to have an “online learning experience.” Michigan passed legislation during 2013 mandating than a district allows any student in grades 5 through 12 to take up to two online courses as accessed off the statewide catalog of courses each semester.
- Source: Grade: C
Teacher Quality Score: 78%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers D+
Expanding the Pool of Teachers C+
Identifying Effective Teachers B-
Retaining Effective Teachers C+
Exiting Ineffective Teachers C+