The Craig Fahle Show

The Truth About Michigan's Charter Schools

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Detroit Free Press education reporters David Jesse and Lori Higgins join Craig to discuss their investigative series on charter schools across the state. Free Press reporter Jennifer Dixon also contributed to the yearlong investigation.

The findings indicated major systemic issues among many of Michigan’s charters, including unnecessary and excessive spending of taxpayer dollars amounting to a staggering $1 billion per year. The series also highlights the problem of closures. Some of Michigan's worst-ranking charter schools have managed to stay open for 10 years or more.

"I've learned a lot about charter schools, we kind of joke that we probably know more about charter schools than just about anyone at this point," Higgins says with a laugh.

Despite the underlying issues negatively impacting student education at many charter schools, Jesse says the investigation also reveals what some Michigan charters are doing right. "I think we've learned a lot, it was fun to be in some of these schools that were doing a great job," he says. In fact, Jesse tells Craig that one charter school he visited in Western Michigan was so impressive, he left wishing he could send his son there.

Now that the information is out there, it's up to Michigan's charter schools, residents and legislators to address the issues and formulate a plan of action for the sake of state educators students alike.

--Annamarie Sysling