State Superintendent Announces That Charter Authorizers Remain At-Risk For Now

December 19, 2014

LANSING – State Superintendent Mike Flanagan today announced that the 11 charter school authorizers placed in At-Risk of Suspension status in August will remain At-Risk for now.

Given separate actions taken Tuesday by Governor Rick Snyder and the State Board of Education, Flanagan will withhold making any immediate suspension decisions.

“The Governor said he will announce in January some education reforms for both traditional and charter schools,” Flanagan added.  “I’d like to see what he proposes before moving forward with my authority.  I don’t want to affect any bold reforms he may announce by taking my own action now.”

The State Board of Education adopted its Recommendations for Change to Michigan School Organization and Finance, that included a call for a community-driven “certificate of need” process to open new charter schools; and ensuring that state law has equal transparency, clear accountability, and quality control for all schools, as well as any education management companies.

State law gives the State Superintendent authority to suspend a charter school authorizer for not engaging in appropriate continuing oversight of one or more charter schools operating under a contract with them.

“Most authorizers have done a good job taking care of many of their identified deficiencies,” Flanagan said.  “There still are issues that need to be addressed, and we’ve been in a process of working together toward a system that gets every student in Michigan achieving at a high level.

In August, Flanagan placed the 11 authorizers At-Risk of Suspension, giving them until October 22 to remediate their deficiencies.  He also directed leadership staff at the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) to meet with authorizers on including an additional factor that takes into account the academic improvement of charter schools in their portfolios.

The department has met three times with authorizers since the August announcement and used those meetings to help frame a new academic improvement measurement.

Flanagan said he strongly supports the accreditation system the authorizers have been developing for themselves.  He urged the Michigan Council of Charter School Authorizers, which represents 10 of the 40 charter school authorizers, to work with the other authorizers on reaching consensus with an accreditation system that includes an academic achievement component.