When the state auditor general scrutinized charter school procedures of Central Michigan University, charter school opponents hoped for a negative report that they could use to undermine support for charter schools. Instead, they got a mixed message that suggested the need for more education reform, not less.

Charter schools were introduced three years ago to bring innovation and healthy competition to Michigan’s public school system. Today, 105 of the independent, publicly funded charter schools educate nearly 20,000 students—most of them minorities from urban areas.

The audit report did not focus on the actual performance of charter schools or their students; rather, it focused mainly on paperwork and reporting requirements.

The report found bureaucratic shortcomings, but it also praised the university’s charter school efforts as "effective and efficient."

More than 600 Michigan universities and public school districts can establish charter schools, but fewer than 5 percent have done so. The other 95 percent contains some of the most vocal charter school critics. Instead of standing idle or complaining about charter school competition, they may want to consider starting their own charter schools to show how they think it ought to be done.

For the Mackinac Center, this is Catherine Martin.