At MAPSA, we advocate daily to promote education reforms necessary to achieve the ideal environment for school choice. While there are many issues that arise throughout the legislative session, promoting the ideals or requiring significant protection of the charter school ideals, MAPSA’s legislative priorities remain consistent.
We believe every child in the state attending a public school, regardless of zip code, should be funded equitably. Currently, charter public schools receive on average $1,400 less than traditional public schools, yet serve some of the most challenged demographic of students. To this end, we advocate for equitable funding to narrow the equity gap to fund each child in the State equitably:
- Prioritization of the foundation grant and elimination of discretionary categorical funding. We believe that at least 90% of the state per-pupil allocation should go to the school without specific categorical limitations on how those funds can be used. This funding mechanism empowers schools to invest funding in the best way necessary to meet the needs of their unique student population.
- Differentiated funding strategy. Given the unique nature of student needs based on research supported triggers such as poverty, special needs, or accelerated learning, funding strategies must account for the varying cost of education for these students. This structure must exist without regard to legacy cost structures and it must be consistent for all public schools irrelevant of grade levels or modes of education delivery.
One Accountability System Statewide
We believe that in order to raise achievement levels in Michigan, we must first measure quality in a meaningful way. With a significant population of students achieving well below grade level, to see true performance we must measure both growth and proficiency. To be effective in moving quality, this system should:
- Be useful, relevant, transparent and easy for schools to understand the factors involved and the goals they are striving to achieve.
- Include easy-to-understand information that parents can use to make education decisions.
- Hold schools accountable for their results by replacing and/or closing poor performing schools, so that taxpayers do not continue to fund schools that don’t help children succeed.
A culture of Innovation
In order for true innovation to occur, regulatory flexibility is necessary. Flexibility is different than accountability. Charter schools have and believe in high standards for quality and accountability for achieving outcomes. However, the sandbox for innovation must be drawn wider to allow true reform that will lead to greater student achievement. This includes:
- Removing unnecessary mandates and barriers that hinder schools from operating a program that meets the goals established in their charter contracts to do what is best for students (i.e. seat time, common calendar, and post-Labor Day start).
- Allowing for the use of recognized experts as part-time, non-certified, non-tenured instructors in content areas where they demonstrate a high level of competency.
Access to Facilities
We believe that in order to create an environment of opportunity and equity, charter schools need access to existing, unused public school buildings through:
- Requiring access to existing public school buildings by any entity approved to be a public school.
- Opposing the arbitrary demolition of existing public school buildings when another educational entity indicates their intent to use that facility.