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Leading In Public Education

Leading In Public Education

The idea behind chartering public schools began nearly two decades ago as a legislative strategy to transform public education by introducing choice, change and competition into the educational marketplace. This transformation would occur both directly, through the creation of new, innovative educational options that parents can choose for their children, and indirectly, as these new options serve as a catalyst that drive improvement of existing public schools.

This innovation is occurring at The Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools. The Center developed tools; tools ranging from Internet-based document submission systems to the use of next-generation student assessments to the development of innovative data analysis techniques; are not only being used to help school leaders and teachers focus more time in the classroom, but they are also being recognized by many as having broad applications that can improve public education for all. The Center is doing this through:

Expanding choice and opportunity for students. Today, CMU authorizes 62 of the state's charter public schools throughout Michigan. These schools are as diverse as the students they serve-some provide specialized or themed educational programs, some provide students with advanced opportunities to excel, some exist solely to help students with special needs reach their full potential, and some provide students who have previously dropped out with a second chance.

Serving as a catalyst for change in all public education. Providing parents with choices for their children's educations helps harness market forces to improve public education. Programs like full-day kindergarten, early college options, and theme-based schools that were pioneered at charter public schools have encouraged school districts throughout Michigan to create more, diverse options. These provide parents with more choices for selecting the school that's the right fit for their children.

Being a force for quality. Parents demand quality schools for their children. In overseeing and helping improve performance at schools chartered by CMU, the Center has always acted with a focus on quality.

The Center's team helped establish national principles and standards for quality charter school authorizing that create a framework for authorizing practices that emphasize the importance of effective authorizing for the overall quality of charter schools. They have also been leaders in collecting quality educational data, providing school leaders with the training that allows them to succeed, measuring and evaluating student growth, and reporting school quality information to help parents make decisions about what school is right for their children.

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