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PSA General Questions

  • Pursuant to the Revised School Code (MCL), also known as Public Act 451 of 1976, a PSA is a state-supported public school under the state constitution, operating under a charter contract issued by a public authorizing body [MCL 380.501(1), MCL 380.552]. PSAs are also commonly referred to as charter schools.

    Charter schools may include grades K-12 or any combination of those grades. They may not charge tuition and must serve anyone who applies to attend up to enrollment capacity; that is, they may not screen out students based on race, religion, gender, or test scores. Students are selected randomly for admission if the number of students applying exceeds the school's enrollment capacity [MCL 380.504(2)]. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) eliminates the Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) provision and reverts to state standards. Michigan requires all charter school educators to be certified. Charter school students are assessed annually as part of the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP). Charter schools are required to administer other state-mandated assessments such as the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) and Access for ELs, WIDA ACCESS 2.0. Charter schools cannot be religiously affiliated [MCL 380.502(1)].

  • Part 6A of Michigan’s Revised School Code was adopted to allow for establishing PSAs in Michigan (MCL 380.501 et seq). Following this change, three additional sections of the law were added to provide for the establishment of three different categories of charter schools:

    • Urban High School Academies (UHSAs) chartered under MCL 380.521 – 380.529, commonly referenced as Part 6C of the Revised School Code. These schools can only be authorized by state public universities.
    • Schools of Excellence (SOEs) chartered under MCL 380.551 -380.561, commonly referred to as Part 6E of the Revised School Code. Schools of Excellence are established as either (1) a replication of a high-performing school, (2) a cyber school, or (3) a conversion of a 6A PSA based on criteria that define superior academic performance.
    • Strict Discipline Academies (SDAs) chartered under the Revised School Code (MCL 380.1311b – 380.1311m). SDAs are established to serve suspended, expelled, or incarcerated young people.

    In December 2011, the state legislature passed Public Act 277, which contained numerous amendments to sections 6A, 6C, and 6E. Collectively, PSAs, UHSAs, SOEs, and SDAs are called charter schools throughout the remainder of this document. While UHSAs and SDAs are defined as charter schools under certain sections of Michigan law, these entities have some unique statutory features. Individuals and organizations interested in developing schools in these three categories should review the documents available at the MDE Public School Academies Unit website or email with specific questions.