Thursday, April 7, 2011

Some Charter Schools "Outsource" Management

I am preparing a series on charter schools in Washtenaw County, and I've decided I'm going to start alphabetically. (I know, you're wondering when? Hey, I've got another life besides blogging! Plus other interesting stories keep coming up!)

But this came across my twitter feed (Hat Tip to, and I thought it might interest people to know that some charter schools are actually managed by for-profit companies. Heritage Academies, which runs at least one charter school in Washtenaw County, is referenced in this article.

Charter Schools Outsource Education to Management Firms, With Mixed Results 

So one thing to keep an eye on when we discuss charter schools is whether or not they retain local control. Who is on their board? Who runs the school?

You might be wondering why a charter school would outsource anything, and basically, it's because running a school can be pretty complicated.  According to the article, 

About half of charter schools with for-profit management companies met their adequate yearly progress targets, according to the National Education Policy Center’s report, which used the most recently available information. By comparison, 63 percent of charter schools overall and 67 percent of regular public schools met the benchmark in 2009, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, an industry group. (Emphasis added.)

 In any case, this article is part of a series by  According to their web site, ProPublica is "an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Our work focuses exclusively on truly important stories, stories with 'moral force.'"
And guess what? You can donate to them, if you think their work is important, right here.


  1. Thanks for the hat tip!

    National Heritage Academies says they run 60-some charters around the country, 39 of them in Michigan. Their two existing schools in Washtenaw Co., Fortis and South Arbor academies, have been the largest charters in the area. Their web site lists another elementary site pending in Ypsilanti, and I believe NHA is the group proposing to open a charter high school in Ypsilanti Twp.

    NHA founder JC Huizenga, the son of Wayne Huizenga of Blockbuster Video and Waste Management fame, is a well-to-do businessman in his own right. A supporter of Christian education, he jumped at the chance to create public charter schools that would have a "moral focus." In the early years, NHA schools often drew students away from private Christian schools, and also ran into legal trouble over their integration of faith-based messages into the public school curriculum.

    Among other things, the NHA charters demonstrate that the largest growth is not taking place in small, experimental schools. Rather, the growth in charters represents a trend toward privatizing public education, which I don't believe addresses the aim of making sure our public schools are excellent and accessible to all.

  2. And actually, that should be

  3. Thanks for the interesting background, Steve! I've fixed the twitter link to so it links correctly.