Mackinac on Charter Schools

Mackinac Center’s 25-year Campaign to Expand Educational Choice Database of Local Government Union Contracts

Without free-market research and education, charter schools might have been just another forgotten fad from the 80s. Fortunately, Mackinac Center analysts and research advanced the notion that parents ought to have greater choices in their children’s education.

Below are examples of what Center scholars and analysts have written on the issue over the years:

Mackinac Center’s 25-year Campaign to Expand Educational Choice

Adapted from a blog post by Michael Van Beek.

Robert Wittmann, 1992: “[C]ompetition cannot exist unless new suppliers are free to enter the market for educational services. One option currently under consideration is to ‘charter’ new schools into the public system. But, unless ‘charter’ schools enjoy reasonable autonomy, increased supply will not translate into ‘more and better choice.’”

Larry Reed, 1993: “When Wayne State University, for instance, opened its new ‘charter public school’ this fall, more than 5,000 applications came flooding in from all over Detroit for only 330 seats. As hundreds were given the disappointing news, there were voices from within the public school establishment opposing even this limited opportunity for the beleaguered children of Detroit. What kind of an educational system is it that preaches the virtues of parental involvement but seeks to penalize some parents who want the best for their children? What kind of people behave as though the system were more important than the kids?”

Dr. Ormand G. Hook, 1997: “One of the earliest advocates of the charter school idea was the Midland-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy. The law is now doing precisely what the Center urged years ago: ‘It is vitally necessary to free up the supply side of education, both to enhance competition and to create new opportunities for children in their respective neighborhoods.’ Signs are abundant that the general success of Michigan’s charter schools is already goading other schools to find ways to improve.”

Matthew Brouillette, 1998: “Charter schools are a step toward freedom of choice in education, but only full and fair choice among diverse government and nongovernment schools will ensure that parents have a vibrant array of options.”

Dr. Ryan Olson and Deneen Borelli, 2007: “[P]olicymakers and education officials must resist the urge to add to charter schools the burden of further regulations concerning ‘quality.’ Quality is effectively addressed by the choices of education consumers — parents — and schools should not be hampered by more rules that limit how school leaders offer the educational services that parents desire.”