The leadership prowess of Michigan’s Republican majority has once again left me breathless and trembling with anticipation. They are taking advantage of this lame duck session to ram through a set of bills that allow the state to freely spend our public education funds on for-profit charter schools.
And you can be assured that this will be money well spent. The existing Michigan charter schools spend about 20%-35% less on instruction and twice as much on administration (read: profit) than traditional public schools. We can all agree it’s about time somebody (other than students) should be profiting from education.
Charter schools tend to pay lower salaries to teachers than public schools, doubtlessly ensuring they attract only the most qualified. It is also a means of increasing (you guessed it) profit.
Not to mention, charter schools don’t have the expense of all that bloat and waste found in public schools- you know, special education, music, art, transportation services and athletic programs. And less waste means… wait for it… more profit.
Suffice it to say, charter schools represent big money. Anyone who can’t see that has the mathematics aptitude of a Shetland pony.
Now of course, the charter school system in Michigan has not been self-regulating. And as a result, failing charter schools have been left to stay open year after year. But the fact that the pending legislation provides no quality oversight/standards for charter schools means just one thing. Michigan will practically be the Mecca of profit-driven charter schools!
Let’s not forget that the more money that is spent on charter schools, the less there will be for the public schools. You can only slice the pie so many ways. But given that their budgets have already been whittled down to nothing, compliments of Governor Snyder, I’m pretty sure the public schools have learned to how to make do by now.
All in all, it has been riveting watching our Republican leadership selflessly sponsor bill after bill designed to profit charter schools. I’m sure the result will be a real education for the state of Michigan.
If you would like to give a hearty shout out to our elected officials about this legislation, contact the offices of Rep. McMillin, Chairman of the House Education Committee, Senator Marleau and let’s not forget, the education mastermind himself, Governor Snyder.
For charter school spending habits see the study done by The National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education and The Journal of Education Finance article: An Analysis of Michigan Charter Schools: Enrollment, Revenues, and Expenditures.