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Statement by MCCSA Executive Director Jared Burkhart regarding MI Senate Passage of DPS Legislation

Please attribute the following statement to Jared Burkhart, Executive Director, Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers, regarding DPS Legislation approved by Michigan Senate:

“The Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers applauds the Michigan Legislature for creating a solution that protects the educational choices of all children in Detroit while protecting DPS from bankruptcy. Creating an accountability system that will close failing schools, both charter and traditional, will help students gain the best education possible. Michigan authorizers will continue to work tirelessly to ensure students from every background obtain a quality education.”

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Statement regarding DPS Legislation Approved by Michigan House

Please attribute the following statement to Jared Burkhart, Executive Director, Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers, regarding DPS Legislation approved by Michigan House:

“The Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers is pleased to see a solution that focuses on parents and students in the City of Detroit. Creating an accountability system that will close failing schools, both charter and traditional, will help students gain the best education possible. Michigan authorizers will continue to work tirelessly to ensure students from every background obtain a quality education.”

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For additional information about the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers, please visit: http://michiganauthorizers.com

Charter Supporters Continue to Oppose Limits on Parental Choice in Detroit

Please attribute the following statement to Jared Burkhart, Executive Director, Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers:

“Even some charter school supporters that attended today’s press conference with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan do not support the flawed Senate version of the DEC. We continue to support an education system that empowers parents to make the best choice for their children, not a politically appointed commission. Our focus is not on protecting DPS but rather providing the best education for all students.”

Detroit Charter Schools Remain Open, Educating Children

Detroit Teacher Sick-Outs Aren’t Good For Kids

Jared Burkhart, executive director of the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers, discusses the DPS sick-outs (teacher strikes) and DPS reform legislation on the Frank Beckmann show. He also discusses the Charter School Board Member Lobby Day, which is taking place today in Lansing to educate lawmakers about charter schools and the authorizing process.

Charter schools deserve equal funding for special education

This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press on 4/16/2016:

Rochelle Riley’s column last Sunday on charter schools and children with special needs is baseless and its key anecdote supposedly happened 20 years ago. State law prohibits discrimination of students with special needs. Around 9% of charter school students enrolled in charter schools have special needs, and many have wonderful success stories. This is not some small “unknown” number as is stated in the article. It is verified by Michigan’s Center for Education Performance and Information, the same database that holds all other educational data for the state.

In Detroit, DPS receives additional funding from the Act 18 special education millage that charters do not have access to. The Detroit Public Schools budget shows that they receive an extra $41.3 million dollars just this school year to educate special needs students. Its no wonder DPS can offer many extra programs with that kind of money. Parents have chosen charter schools for their children for a variety of reasons that are specific to their child. Charter schools in Michigan serve special needs students throughout Detroit. The key to making these programs even better is to stop discriminating against charter schools and demand that special needs students are funded equitably in Detroit.

Jared Burkhart

Executive Director, Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers

Schumacher: How we keep charter schools up to par

Originally posted on The Detroit News on March 20, 2016.

Never before have parents been given more influence and flexibility to determine which education options are best suitable for their children. Before the advent of charter schools, a student’s ZIP code was the primary factor governing where they would attend school.

But now, parents have the right to choose. The demand for charter schools is at an all-time high, with nearly three million students enrolled in charter schools around the country and all but eight states with charter school laws on the books.

Basic CMYKEach state has different laws governing charter authorizers, the entities permitted to legally issue charter contracts. Authorizers set clear performance standards and are responsible for “overseeing compliance by the board of directors with the contract and all applicable law.”

Michigan’s approach has resulted in more options for parents, evidenced by the now 303 charter schools in the state educating almost 10 percent of all students. The Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University became the nation’s first university authorizer more than 20 years ago and we currently authorize 62 of the state’s charter schools which serve more than 30,000 Michigan students. In the city of Detroit, nearly 6,000 students attend nine charter public schools that we authorized.

Providing choice is only valuable if it represents quality choices, something that not all authorizers have been able to adequately provide. Authorizers are the key to holding schools to high standards, by both nurturing those who deliver on their expectations and closing schools that cannot offer the quality education that students deserve. As authorizers, we must hold ourselves accountable not only to the law, but also to families and students.

While many of the state’s authorizers have already adopted and implemented nationally recognized standards and best practices, the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers sought to create a mechanism that ensures all authorizers are doing more than simply meeting their statutory responsibilities. The end result of the council’s work is an authorizer accreditation system developed in conjunction withAdvancED, one of the world’s leading accreditation organizations.

The authorizer accreditation system is an intensive program consisting of an internal self-assessment and multi-day external review where authorizers are evaluated according to current law and accepted standards. The process is designed to be rigorous to ensure that authorizers are assessed based on a complete review of all aspects of charter authorizing. The criteria by which authorizers will be evaluated include intervention in low performing schools, such as closure, ensuring quality options by prohibiting authorizer shopping, establishing a comprehensive process to ensure no conflicts of interest exist on charter public school boards, and ensuring greater transparency in operations and academics for charter public schools.

As the charter school movement continues to grow, accountability for schools and authorizers must remain a central focus. Michigan is pioneering charter authorizer accountability through accreditation. We encourage other states to follow suit and establish an accreditation system as the standard for successful charter school authorizing.

Accreditation ultimately leads to what matters most — better educational outcomes for students.

Cindy Schumacher is the executive director of the Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University.

Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers Issue Statement in response to Senate passing DPS Legislation

For Immediate Release

March 22, 2016

Contact: Jared Burkhart
M: 517-403-8533
jburkhart@michiganauthorizers.com

Please attribute the following statement to Jared Burkhart, executive director, Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers regarding the Senate DPS Legislation:

“We are stunned and deeply saddened the Michigan Senate would actually pass legislation that will result in fewer choices for Detroit parents and fewer educational opportunities for their children. These bills protect the Detroit Public School System that has long left behind the students of Detroit academically while being financially driven into the ground time after time. The Senate’s late addition of a Detroit Education Commission only resurrects and props up the old failed DPS system.

Seventy-nine percent of Detroit charter schools perform better than DPS schools and that is a primary factor why parents choose charter schools. Those who want to reduce competition from charter schools and preserve DPS are looking out only for themselves and not the children.

The losers are the parents and state taxpayers. This legislation will limit parents’ education choices for their children and continue to throw away taxpayers’ dollars. The winner is the Detroit political system that isn’t interested in making necessary changes to provide a competitive education landscape with accountability. Additional state tax dollars without any real education reform only means the cycle will continue in Detroit.”

 

About the Council:

Members of the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers seek to advance public school choice and accountability by supporting high-quality oversight and serving as a unified voice for authorizers across Michigan.

Teacher 'Sickout' Protests Shut Down Almost All Detroit Public Schools

Charter Schools Remain Open

DETROIT – The largest in a series of rolling sickouts by Detroit Public School teachers nearly shut down the entire district Wednesday.

no schoolAccording to NBC News, “All but a dozen or so of the city’s 100 public schools were closed Wednesday, forcing most of the district’s 46,000 students to stay home.”

Think about that. Nearly 50,000 students didn’t get a chance to learn anything, and parents were left scrambling to find a way to take care of their children. Many of the students eat their meals at school. When they are closed, students lose that option.

Thankfully, the other half of students attending public schools in Detroit attend charter public schools. Charter school authorizers, teachers, and staff remain committed to educating their students throughout the various sickouts.

Ingrid Jacques with The Detroit News said this about the teacher strikes in her January 20 article, “No excuse for DPS teacher strikes”:

Such a widespread teacher sickout is clearly a strike, which is illegal in Michigan. Public employees are not allowed to strike, but that obviously isn’t scaring these teachers. That’s because current law makes it tedious for school administrators to prove strikes took place, as well as punish offending teachers and their unions.

Under the law, teachers can face fines or losing their job. But the law needs to be changed so that district officials can discipline striking teachers in a much more prompt fashion. Senate Education Committee Chair Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, is working on legislation that would do just that, and he should pursue it as quickly as possible.

Teachers have given lots of reasons for striking, from support of ousted Detroit Federation of Teachers President Steve Conn to bad school conditions to the fact President Barack Obama visited Detroit Wednesday.

In the end, the reason doesn’t matter. There is no excuse to block that many children from the classroom.

These actions by teachers are another example of why conversations regarding DPS schools are failing to focus on the kids.

Too many of our children have been ill prepared for their next steps in life due to the failures of outdated systems.

Instead of keeping children away from their classrooms, we must instead focus on allowing students to access academic programs that provide them the same opportunities as students in every other city in this state and country.

Parents and their children deserve an educational system that serves them, not one that leaves them on the street. If DPS is going to let them down, we have an obligation to provide them with quality alternatives.

Letter: No sickouts for charter school teachers

All charter schools in Michigan were open Tuesday. Sadly, the doors were closed at Cass Tech High School in Detroit leaving students home coming off a recent three-week holiday break. Teachers called in sick as a form of a protest.

No sickout for charter school teachers

Cass Tech, representing the shiny success model of DPS schools and one of the largest public schools in Detroit, was dark because teachers were not concerned about meeting the needs of their students and parents. Students have to compete to attend Cass Tech. But they sat at home rather than receiving an education in the classroom. Teacher sickouts have closed numerous schools and kept students home in December.

These actions by teachers are another example of why conversations regarding DPS schools are failing to focus on the kids. Teachers had three weeks to go to Lansing and protest their grievances rather than doing it on the dime of taxpayers and the future of Detroit students.

Too many of our children have been ill prepared for their next steps in life due to the failures of outdated systems.

The focus should never be about the preservation of jobs or governance models. The focus must be on allowing students to access academic programs that give them the same opportunities as students in every other city in this state and country. Charter schools were open.

Jared Burkhart, Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers

Originally appeared in The Detroit News.