State Superintendent Brian Whiston

The state superintendent of public schools was quoted in the August edition of the Michigan Education Association’s Voice magazine to the effect that charter schools are infringing upon conventional public schools' turf.

“We need to have a policy conversation around this idea of putting two schools next to each other, then telling them to compete and not understand how wasteful of tax dollars that is,” Superintendent Brian Whiston told the state’s largest teachers union.

The Michigan Department of Education confirmed his comments as accurate.

ForTheRecord says: Throughout the state, charter schools are offering students the opportunity for a better education. And sometimes, that better opportunity is right down the street.

Take an example from the city of Detroit.

Detroit Public Schools’ Coleman Young Elementary School received an F grade from the most recent Mackinac Center for Public Policy report card. The card ranks schools on academic performance, with adjustments that show how much value a school is adding, given the socio-economic backgrounds of its students. Just 1.5 miles away, the charter school Martin Luther King, Jr. Education Center Academy was given an A by the same report card.

Which school is a waste of taxpayer dollars?

Also, it should be noted that the state of Michigan — through its Department of Education and now the School Reform Office — has never shut down a conventional school district for academic reasons. There are seven charter schools that will close this year.

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