This is the final in a series of letters from NACSA President and CEO Greg Richmond to Michigan authorizers, operators, policymakers and advocates highlighting the importance of quality authorizing practices.
Last week, I shared with you my response to the Free Press series on charter schools and the ways that NACSA’s Principles & Standards speak to many of the issues identified in the series. Today, I want to share with you a few of the ways that Michigan could strengthen its law. NACSA supports policies that promote the growth of quality schools, the closure of those that fail, and flexibility, transparency and accountability for all. These include immediate steps as well as some that would likely require a longer process and a more comprehensive approach. The following ideas should be part of those discussions.
- Require authorizers to implement practices that meet professional standards;
- Strengthen the current default closure provisions;
- Strengthen the state’s existing authorizer accountability provisions;
- Give authorizers the authority and tools to implement best practices; and
- Pursue comprehensive changes that improve governance and transparency.
None of these policy changes are silver bullets and the details of their design will take considerable care. But they can promote high standards for students, schools and authorizers and better protect the public trust without impeding on school success.
Michigan’s charter sector is not broken. There are many schools that are doing amazing things for kids. But much work remains to be done. Stronger policy, stronger authorizing, and stronger governance are needed.
I reiterate NACSA’s commitment to working with authorizers, policy makers and other stakeholders to ensure that the bad behavior of a few does not further impede the amazing work of the many great charter schools across Michigan and the nation. We look forward to your continued partnership.
President and CEO