State of charter schools: How Michigan spends $1 billion but fails to hold schools accountable

Source: Detroit Free Press, July 16, 2014

A yearlong Free Press investigation of Michigan’s charter schools found wasteful spending, conflicts of interest, poor performing schools and a failure to close the worst of the worst. Among the findings:

Charter schools spend $1billion per year in state taxpayer money, often with little transparency.

Some charter schools are innovative and have excellent academic outcomes — but those that don’t are allowed to stay open year after year.
• A majority of the worst-ranked charter schools in Michigan have been open 10 years or more.
• Charter schools as a whole fare no better than traditional schools in educating students in poverty.
• Michigan has substantially more for-profit companies running schools than any other state.
• Some charter school board members were forced out after demanding financial details from management companies.
• State law does not prevent insider dealing and self-enrichment by those who operate schools.