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Michigan takes 7 charter authorizers off ‘at-risk’ list

Shawn D. Lewis
The Detroit News

Michigan’s superintendent of schools on Wednesday removed seven of 11 charter school authorizers from an “at-risk of suspension” list, saying they have improved oversight.

“These seven charter authorizers have made sufficient improvements to key factors of oversight that I set forth last fall and I have taken them off the At-Risk of Suspension status,” Superintendent Mike Flanagan said in a statement.

The charter school authorizers removed from the list are Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Kellogg Community College, Lake Superior State University, Macomb Intermediate School District, Muskegon Heights Public Schools and Northern Michigan University

Flanagan said he is “greatly encouraged by the progress made by these authorizers and the forthright efforts to improve the oversight and academic outcomes of their charter school portfolios.”

Dan Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, a charter school advocacy group, praised Flanagan’s action.

“The superintendent’s decision is certainly good news for those authorizers, and it’s good to see they were able to answer the questions that were raised,” Quisenberry said. “We fully support holding charter school authorizers accountable for their performance.”

The superintendent put 11 authorizers on the at-risk list in August, putting them at risk of losing their ability to charter additional schools. Four of that group remain on the list: Detroit Public Schools, Eastern Michigan University, the Education Achievement Authority and Highland Park Public School District.

State law gives the state superintendent authority to suspend a charter school authorizer for not engaging in appropriate continuing oversight of one or more charter schools operating under a contract with them.