Self-Contradictory Levin Center Report Challenges State University Autonomy

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Report Ignores Public Charter School Accountability Standards that Outpace Traditional Schools while Pushing to Limit Independence of State Universities

LANSING – Great Lakes Education Project Chairman Jim Barrett today challenged the Levin Center at Wayne State University to reverse course on its attack on the autonomy of Michigan’s public universities, and to take public school accountability seriously by pushing to hold traditional public schools to the same accountability standards under which public charter schools operate.

The Levin Center today published a bizarre, sloppy and self-contradictory report attempting to discredit universities’ public charter school authorizing standards while admitting in its report that it “did not produce evidence that the current authorizers were negligent in their activities.”

Despite this admission, the Levin Center report demanded the state’s public universities that authorize public charter schools surrender their autonomy. The report also ignored numerous, serious public charter school accountability standards under which traditional public schools are exempt from operating.

“Michigan’s public charter schools are the most accountable in the state,” said Barrett. “The Levin Center report admits authorizers meet accountability standards, but still attacks the autonomy of the Michigan universities that authorize them.

“If the Levin Center is serious about improving public school accountability, they should end their attack on university autonomy and demand traditional public schools meet the many additional accountability standards that public charters meet.”

Unlike traditional schools, public charter schools feature public university or other authorizer oversight, they ban school board members with financial conflicts of interest, are required to publish financial reports, and they close with poor performance.

“No child is forced to go to a public charter school,” said Barrett. “Parents exercise accountability and control every day. The Levin Center knows it.”