Michigan: A Textbook Example of How NOT to Reform Schools

By dianeravitch

Martin Levine, writing in the Nonprofit Quarterly, explains that the example of Michigan is strong evidence that Betsy DeVos’ plans to impose choice will harm education.

Before launching a huge new initiative, it is important to have trials and see how things work out. That is why the Common Core failed. Its advocates were so eager to shove it into every state that they couldn’t take the time to see how it worked in reality, in real classrooms with real teachers and real students. They didn’t have time for feedback from practitioners. They had no idea how it would work out. And it blew up in their faces.

Martin Levine says look at Michigan if you want to know how school choice and characterizing works.

Michigan has allowed market forces to replace the planning and oversight roles for which government was traditionally responsible. Control of public education was moved from local school officials to a diverse statewide network that includes universities and community colleges alongside local school boards. A chartering organization can sanction and supervise schools anywhere in the state with no requirement that they understand or are committed to the community the school will serve.

This suggests that rather than plan for the needs of a community from a single, local perspective, Michigan wants the broader market to serve as the control rod. A school in the southeastern corner of the state serving a poor community of color can be chartered by an organization hundreds of miles away with little or no connection to the school’s home neighborhood. The motivation of a chartering organization can be the welfare of the children, or the three percent of per-pupil funding it will receive for its efforts.

The result has been an unbridled expansion of charters and a glutted marketplace:

Since 2002, K-12 student enrollment has …read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core