This paper offers a critical review of a report published in March by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan titled “Improving Oversight of Michigan Charter Schools and Their Authorizers.”
The report argues that charter schools and charter school authorizers need more oversight. Making the case for this position might include demonstrating that charter schools are performing poorly and showing how additional oversight would bring needed improvements. Surprisingly, the report does neither of those things, and instead rests on broad generalizations about charter school accountability that rely on questionable assumptions that are not explained or justified.
The report suffers from other issues. There are several factual errors or misrepresentations of facts. It supports several seemingly contradictory positions. It is biased towards a particular governance model for public schools — local school boards — but never provides a rationale for that bias.
The following sections explain each of these shortcomings in detail. While some of these issues only tangentially relate to the main argument of the paper, on the whole, it fails to sufficiently demonstrate that charter schools need more public oversight.