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School Year Begins With 298 Public Charter Schools in Michigan, Including 34 New Schools
MAPSA
By: Buddy Moorehouse
September 03, 2013
As the school year begins across Michigan this week, there are now 298 public charter schools in the state, up from 276 last year. According to the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA), the state charter school association, there are 34 new charter schools opening this fall and 12 that are either closing or consolidating, bringing the total number of charter schools in the state to 298.

Since the first dozen charter schools opened in Michigan in the fall of 1994, the number has grown steadily every year. This past year, nearly 9 percent of all Michigan students were enrolled in a charter school (about 131,000 students total). That number is sure to rise for the 2013-2014 school year. (See the chart below for the historical growth of charter schools in Michigan.)

“With close to 300 charter schools in the state now, we’re nearing an important milestone,” said Dan Quisenberry, President of MAPSA. “What’s more important than the total number of charter schools, though, is the quality educational choice they provide for parents and students. When charter schools were first established in the state, they carried with them the promise that increased innovation and accountability would result in improved student achievement. As recent research has shown, that’s exactly what’s happened.”

Quisenberry said that to help parents sort through the wide array of educational choices now available, MAPSA has developed an online tool, accessible at choicesineducation.com.

“If parents go to choicesineducation.com, they can search by grade level, academic interests, curriculum models and learning styles to find the school that’s right for their child,” Quisenberry said. “The site also provides information and resources that will help parents become much better informed. We believe that every child deserves a quality education in a quality school, so the key is for parents to be aware of the quality choices available to them.”

The 34 new charter schools opening across the state this week are located in every corner of the state – from Detroit to Manistee – and provide a wide variety of educational models. Some notes on the new schools:
 
  1. Online learning options continue to expand for parents across the state. Among the new schools are four full-time cyber academies and several others that offer a blended-learning curriculum.
  2. Montessori is a popular educational approach among the new schools, with Montessori academies opening in Battle Creek, Muskegon, Warren and Waterford.
  3. There are two new Strict Discipline Academies opening (in Kalamazoo and Oxford), a special designation of charter school for students who have been through the legal system or who are at risk in other ways.
  4. Two of the high-quality national charter school management organizations that had been looking to open a school in Michigan will be opening their first schools in the state: Charter Schools USA (Success Mile Academy in Warren) and Lighthouse Academies (Southwest Detroit Lighthouse Academy).
  5. There are new charter schools in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Muskegon, Waterford, Warren, Pontiac, Hazel Park, Oxford, Okemos, Kalamazoo, Manistee, Baldwin, Beverly Hills, Center Line, Plymouth, Novi, Taylor, Garden City, Eaton Rapids and Zeeland.
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