Families throughout the state will have 31 new school choices this fall. The charter schools are opening following the passage of a law late last year that gradually lifts the cap on these alternative public schools. Michigan charter school authorizers carefully chose the schools and are confident they will offer students new and better options. It’s encouraging to see these schools emerge, and the quality of charters will likely continue to rise in coming years.
Charter schools are not a magic bullet to success, and detractors like to point out how many charters don’t boast test scores all that higher than their traditional public school counterparts. But research shows that plenty of charters do outperform other public schools, especially when children stay in the charter for several years. And parents could have a plethora of reasons for choosing one school over another — from extracurricular programs to safety concerns.
What’s important is giving families the choice. Too many children in Michigan haven’t had options if they were stuck in a poor-performing school. Now that’s changing.