Parents, teachers could run schools

LANSING, Mich. - Parents and teachers could run their own independent "neighborhood schools" under legislation introduced in the state House Thursday, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press.

Each school would be under contract to a sponsor, such as a mayor, a city or the state board of education, and would have to meet certain standards, but also would have more flexible rules than existing public schools, according to the Free Press. Schools with a history of poor academic achievement would be given priority.

The new schools could not be affiliated with a church or religious organization, the report said. Teachers and parents at existing public schools could vote on whether to go independent, according to the Free Press, and would receive state funding based on enrollment.

Michigan law already allows public charter schools, but they must be under contract to a local or intermediate school district, community college or state university. The number of university-sponsored charters is capped at 150.

Senate Republicans said they expect teachers unions to support the plan because it would give educators a large role in curricula and procedures, the Free Press reported.

The Detroit Free Press, "State Senate GOP floats plan to shift school control," June 11, 2009

Michigan Education Report, "Should Michigan lift the cap on charter public schools? Yes," Nov. 21, 2006