Michigan 2016 State Policy Detail
DETROIT REFORMS CAN CATALYZE OTHER STATEWIDE IMPROVEMENTS
Legislation passed in 2016 to address the Detroit schools crisis contains a number of charter reforms intended to turn around the city’s ailing charter sector. While a good start, more can be done—through policies such as performance frameworks and a strong renewal standard—to improve quality and choice in Detroit and statewide.
NOTEWORTHY IN 2016
SCORE INCREASE: +7
- Authorizer Standards (+1). Authorizers that seek to open any new charter schools in Detroit must be accredited by a “nationally recognized accreditation body.”
- Default Closure (+6). Any charter school that ranks in the bottom 5% of schools in the state for three consecutive years must be closed. In addition, under a new A-F accountability system that will be administered in Detroit, any charter school in Detroit that receives an F rating for the immediately preceding three school years must be closed or reconstituted.
- Require authorizer evaluations. Michigan is the only state with multiple non-LEA authorizers that does not have an authorizer evaluation explicitly in state policy. While the new authorizer accreditation requirement is a promising start, it currently applies only to a very small number of authorizers—those who wish to open a new charter school in Detroit—and does not involve ongoing evaluation to maintain the right to authorize. A system of authorizer evaluation should be further developed and given the full weight of the law.
- Strengthen authorizer sanctions. Sanctions for underperforming authorizers should include the ability to revoke an authorizer’s authority to issue new charter contracts and oversee existing schools. These possible sanctions should apply to authorizers that fail in their duties, demonstrate poor practices or conduct, or oversee portfolios with too many persistently low-performing schools. A fully developed system of authorizer evaluations is a necessary counterpart to this policy.
- Institute a strong renewal standard.
- Require all authorizers to use performance frameworks. Many Michigan authorizers already use performance frameworks, a practice which should be required by law for all authorizers.