Table 1
Western Michigan University Report
  • Number of Charters Schools Evaluated: 51

  • Geographic Location of Charter Schools: The entire state except for schools in Southeastern Michigan

  • Duration of Study: October 1997 to December 1998

Summary of Findings

  • 75.1 percent of parents surveyed were satisfied with their school's curriculum.

  • 64.3 percent of students agree or strongly agreed that they were learning more in the charter school than at their previous school.

  • 69.1 percent of parents agreed or strongly agreed that they "were satisfied with the instruction."

  • 71.8 percent of parents agreed or strongly agreed that "Teachers are challenged to be effective."

  • Approximately 5 percent of all staff working in the classroom indicated that they were not certified in the subjects they taught.

  • 77 percent of students had previously attended a public school; 12 percent had attended a private or parochial school; and 7.4 percent were homeschooled.

  • The presence of charter schools has put pressure on the traditional public schools to be more accountable.

  • Positive changes in local public schools that appear to be attributable to the presence of charter schools include the following:

  • Introduction of all-day kindergarten

  • Increase in adult supervision on the playgrounds

  • Increased emphasis on customer satisfaction

  • Provision of more before and after school programs

  • More efforts to involve parents

  • Increased efforts on the part of schools to communicate with the homes of their students

  • Increased marketing of traditional public schools

  • More emphasis on foreign language

Public Sector Consultants Report
  • Number of Charters Schools Evaluated: 55

  • Geographic Location of Charter Schools: Nine counties in Southeastern Michigan (Lapeer, Livingston, Genessee, Macomb, Oakland, Saginaw, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne)

  • Duration of Study: 1997-1998 school year

Summary of Findings

  • More than 70 percent of the schools have waiting lists

  • Three-fourths of the charter schools with elementary or middle-school grades require uniforms

  • 73 percent of parents say they are involved and can influence instruction and school activities

  • Most parents are at the charter school twice a day since no transportation is provided

  • Overall, Michigan Educational Assessment Program test scores are lower in charter schools than the average of neighboring traditional public schools

  • University authorizers have turned down many more applications than they have approved

  • The state requires schools to submit nearly 100 forms annually

Charter School Characteristics and Statistics
  • Charter schools account for approximately 1.8 percent of the total enrollment in Michigan's K-12 schools.

  • Nearly 34,000 students attended charter schools during the 1998-99 school year.

  • The 138 charter schools are authorized by public universities (110 schools), community colleges (1 school), intermediate school districts (15 schools), and local school districts (12 schools).

  • Grade levels offered by charter schools (note: many offer multiple grade levels):

  • Elementary (K-5) 74% 102 schools

  • Middle School (6-8) 64% 89 schools

  • High School (9-12) 39% 54 schools

  • A charter school receives the same state aid per student as the local school district in which it is located or a maximum of $5,692 per student.

Source: Michigan Association of Public School Academies