Monday, July 10, 2017

Detroit district may rethink authorizing charter schools

Detroit district may rethink authorizing charter schools:

Detroit district may rethink authorizing charter schools

The Detroit Public Schools Community District currently authorizes 13 charter schools.


 From almost the moment Michigan began allowing charter schools more than 20 years ago, the Detroit school district has been active in authorizing them. But that could soon change.

Members of the board of education for the district have indicated in recent meetings they want to have a deep discussion about the district's role as an authorizer — a role that has contributed to the growth of charter schools in the city.
And last week, new Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said he would recommend the Detroit  Public Schools Community District get out of the charter school authorization business and instead focus its efforts on improving traditional public schools.
"We have to get it right with traditional public schools and our focus, our energy, our resources need to be on that," Vitti said.
Vitti said there may also be value in continuing as an authorizer and setting the standard in the city for quality authorizing and oversight — and for the district playing an even bigger role as a charter authorizer.
The big question, he said, is whether it's "possible to communicate to the community that we are focused on traditional public schools while still approving charters." 
"I feel uncomfortable trying to message both, to be honest," Vitti said.
His comments drew cheers from a few people in the audience of the board's academics subcommittee last week. But others hope Vitti and the board — which would make the ultimate decision — will consider staying in the game.
"I would advocate for DPSCD staying in the charter sector in a limited and high quality way," said Doug Ross, a charter advocate who once oversaw the district's charter schools office.
His argument: Charters "can often innovate more easily and more quickly than centrally managed schools."
"Those urban systems that are beginning to make progress ... have used successful charter experiences in their cities to improve the design and management of their traditional schools," said Ross, who until June 30 headed American Promise Schools, a nonprofit that manages four charter schools in the city.

Vitti wants options

Vitti, who took the helm of the school district May 23, raised the issue at the academics Detroit district may rethink authorizing charter schools:

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