Charter schools don't always succeed, say critics who point to recent closings of troubled Sierra Leone Academy (Detroit) and Turtle Island Learning Circle (Westland). Charter school supporters say the failures prove one advantage held by charter schools over traditional public schools: When a charter school fails, it closes; when a traditional public school fails, it remains open, consuming resources without meeting students' needs.
Nationally acclaimed teachers gathered in Washington, D.C. to call for bold reforms including school choice and an end to compulsory unionism. Their Letter to the American People, signed by hundreds of educators, parents, and officials, is available on the web at www.mackinac.org/features/letter/.
Public support grows for tuition tax credits and vouchers, according to a Detroit Free Press/Ferris State University statewide poll released October 13. Tax credits garnered 64% public approval; vouchers 57%. Tax credits were opposed by 30%; vouchers 33%. "In urban centers, they just want better schools," said pollster Ed Sarpolus of EPIC/MRA in a Free Press interview. A similar poll three years ago found support for vouchers was less than 50%, but did not address tax credits.
Student expulsion and other severe punishments can effectively reduce many destructive school behaviors, according to a recent report by the Educational Testing Service. Less effective were found to be school uniforms and "zero-tolerance" campaigns. Weapon possession by students was a problem cited by 2 percent of principals.
More K-12 schools turn to marketing to improve their images. Open houses, advertising, and professional PR assistance are being used to reach parents who have a growing array of options under charter and intra-district choice laws. Coleman public schools Superintendent Jim Archer explained to the Midland Daily News that he hired a PR firm because his "teachers and staff are doing wonderful things, and that needs to get out." See the opportunity to showcase your school's success.