Nick Krieger (@nckrieger):
We absolutely need some type of agency to manage the siting and opening of new charter schools in Michigan. I don't dispute that one bit. But the Detroit Education Commission, which would be created by the language of SB 710, is definitely not the answer. The proposed Detroit Education Commission is just one more way in which SB 710 would prevent to return of meaningful control to a locally elected school board. It is also a mechanism to provide preferential treatment for certain charter-school operators over others simply because they happen to be friends of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.
A charter-school siting agency must operate transparently, and should serve the entire state—not just Detroit. In addition, it must be accountable to the people—not an unelected commission controlled by one man who seeks to promote his friends' charters while freezing out others. Let's face it: Shouldn't the power to manage the siting and opening of charters be vested in the State Board of Education? The State Board of Education is defined by our state constitution as "the general planning and coordinating body for all public education." It is an existing, elected entity with expertise in education policy that is already set up to handle tasks such as this. Authorizing the State Board of Education to manage the siting and opening of new charters would make so much more sense than giving this power to a group of seven hand-picked Mike Duggan sycophants.