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Demanding more from Michigan's charter schools.

     A. Examination of Michigan's PSAs
     B. Federal Legislation Increases Economic Segregation
        in Michigan's PSAs
     C. Economic Segregation is Harmful to Michigan's
     A. Changes To Michigan Legislation
     B. Changes to Federal Legislation
     C. Charter Schools That Work for Michigan


Michigan charter schools now compete with traditional public schools for scarce state resources. Since charter schools receive generous amounts of public dollars, it is time for parents and state regulatory agencies to contest their legitimacy and assess their performance of a state regulated function--education. Whether public schools draw checks to the charters, the state forwards a portion of what public schools would have received to charter schools, or the state's discretionary resources--which could have been used to improve public schools--are slated for charter schools. The result is that traditional public schools have fewer dollars to deliver education and services. With this grant of public monies comes the corresponding responsibility for charter schools to provide racially and economically diverse schools that offer comparable educational services to similar students.

The nature and characteristics of charter schools depend on the approach adopted by a state's applicable charter school legislation. (2) In Michigan, this legislation relieves charter schools from many state mandates to which traditional public schools are subject. Charter school proponents contend that such freedom has a number of benefits, including: engendering a more creative approach to teaching and learning, helping schools serve as models of educational reform strategies, making schools more reflective of parent and community priorities, and proving more cost-effective to operate. In education this belief in business principles and market forces leads to the proposition that "all schools will succeed if there is competition." Instead of solving academic problems such as reading levels or improved student assessment, charter school legislation redesigns a school system's management and structure by concentrating on incentives and sanctions. Charter school advocates insist that freedom from government regulation will solve many of the problems incumbent upon public education today.

Despite purported efficient management principles, many Michigan charter schools leave behind the state's most economically disadvantaged children because the state's charter school legislation creates educational environments that become racially and economically segregated. (3) In theory, charter schools cannot pick and choose students because they are public schools. In practice, however, charter schools have far more control over student characteristics than the traditional public school counterparts. In Michigan and other states, for example, charter schools are authorized to shape student enrollment through recruitment and marketing efforts, parental involvement requirements, and discipline or expulsion practices. (4)

Though recent research reveals both racial and economic segregation in Michigan's charter schools, this Note focuses solely on economic segregation. (5) Economically segregated learning environments particularly disadvantage low-income students, and evidence has emerged that the level of poverty in a school can affect academic outcomes. (6) Since Michigan's public charter schools are clustered in high-poverty urban areas, (7) there is an immediate need to evaluate the state's charter schools and its charter school legislation. Significantly, Detroit Public Schools (DPS) is also Michigan's largest school district, and thus stands to lose the most from economically segregated charter schools.

Charter schools also present a timely issue for Detroit as their growth coincides with mayoral efforts to "resize" the city. Since quality schools are a central piece of the Mayor's efforts to incentivize residential movement to strong, viable neighborhoods there is an urgent need to determine whether Detroit's schools will maintain their traditional public school status or convert to charter schools. Currently, Michigan's charter school legislation operates against the Mayor's commitment to building strong residential neighborhoods because it provides for schools to be built and/or created outside of the very neighborhoods they serve. Economically segregated schools therefore impact public education at both the state and local levels.

Michigan's strong charter school legislation gains further support from the federal government's advocacy of charter schools as an educational reform tool under its "Race To The Top" (RTTT) initiative. RTrT is a competitive federal grant program included in the "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) legislation. Congress enacted NCLB in the spirit of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, which expressed as its primary goal the creation of equitable educational opportunities for low-income schoolchildren in rural and urban areas. Significantly, NCLB holds schools and school districts accountable for demonstrating annual progress in improving the achievement of all students, including major racial and ethnic groups, English learners, and poor students. Thus, a traditional public school with high-poverty enrollment is at a disadvantage when it must compete against a charter school whose membership does not reflect similar levels of poverty.

Ironically, though one of RTI'T's objectives is ensuring economic diversity in our nation's public schools, this federal grant program actually incentivizes state-created schools that produce the opposite result--charter schools that are economically segregated. If Michigan continues to apply for additional RTTT grant monies, this state action will continue to have a disparate impact on Michigan's poorest schoolchildren and school districts. Although NCLB advocates charter schools as a tool for turning around low performing schools, this objective should not be achieved at the expense of our nation's most economically disadvantaged students.

Despite existing federal and state legislation, Michigan's charter schools can effectively serve their students by adopting the following suggestions. First, Michigan's existing charter school legislation should be amended to reflect a state commitment to economically integrated public schools, and any new applicants for charter schools should reflect this sentiment in proposed charter documents. Second, Michigan should not apply for additional RTTT funding until federal legislation has been amended to reflect the original spirit of the ESEA. Finally, new charter schools in Michigan should follow charter schools' original design as introduced by Ray Budde and Albert Shanker in the 1980s (8) Collectively, these changes will help ensure economically diverse public schools that effectively serve all of Michigan's schoolchildren.

In sum, this Note begins in Part 1] by providing background on the development of Michigan's charter schools. In Part HI, this Note discusses the effects of Michigan's current charter school legislation on both Michigan's schoolchildren and its traditional public school districts; and summarizes charter school related provisions of federal "Race to the Top" legislation. In Part IV, this Note identifies the disconnect between Detroit's effort to "resize" the city and the city's explosion of charter schools. Finally, in Part V, this author proposes amended language to both state and federal education legislation, and recommends a model for successful Michigan charter schools that reflect the diversity of their neighboring communities.

With the recent twentieth anniversary of the United States' first charter school law, educators, school districts, and parents alike are waiting to learn the effectiveness of this relatively "new" idea in public education. Currently, public charter schools enjoy "immunity" because there is no conclusive nationwide data on individual charter school student achievement over time, or on the effects that public charter schools have on their students and host communities. When Michigan's results become available, however, state charter school legislation should be revisited and amended.

This Note presents preliminary data which is not reflective of all Michigan charter schools, however, some troubling truths have emerged which will adversely affect the character of public education in Michigan if neglected.


Simply stated, charter schools have been defined as a combination of public and private schools--in essence quasi-public, quasi-private schools. (9) Though most often defined in the state's enabling legislation as "public schools," (10) these schools lack many of the characteristics of a traditional public school. Most charter school programs contain three essential elements: (1) a privately organized corporation or "entity;" (2) a contract or "charter" with the state and organizing body; and (3) some state funding. (11) These components are present at some level in all charter school programs. Program requirements do, however, differ significantly among states, depending on that state's enabling legislation and its intended purpose. Importantly, states have unquestioned authority to organize and reorganize systems of public education, (12) and even privatize the delivery of certain public services. (13)

Charter schools in Michigan are referred to as "public school academies" (PSAs). (14) Michigan's enabling legislation, first passed by the legislature in 1993, can be found in the Public School Academies Act, located in Article 1 of the Revised School Code. (15) Current examples of PSAs include urban high school and strict discipline academies, schools of excellence, and cyber schools. (16) Michigan's Public School Academies Act was passed at the end of Governor John Engler's strong crusade for educational reform (17) in which charter school legislation was seen as one of the Governor's three primary educational initiatives. (18) Governor Engler's three consecutive four-year terms allowed him to plan and implement all three of these initiatives in great detail. (19)

Following the Michigan Supreme Court's holding in Council of Organizations & Others for Education About Parochiaid, (20) in which charter schools were held to be a constitutional use of state resources, Michigan implemented PSAs with great enthusiasm because both Governor Engler and the Michigan legislature viewed PSAs as a potential solution to the state public school's administrative bureaucracy. (21) As of 2010, an estimated 5,453 charter schools enrolled more than 1.7 million students nationwide (22) with Michigan enrolling over 110,000 students in its 299 operating PSAs. (23) Locally, between 32,000 and 34,000 of Detroit's schoolchildren are currently enrolled in the District's seventy-three PSAs, as compared to approximately 73,000 students enrolled in its 173 traditional public schools. (24) Significantly, Detroit's charter school enrollment is the second highest nationwide. (25)

Section 380.501 of Michigan Compiled Laws defines a PSA, describes its scope and authority, and outlines the necessary requirements for its existence. (26) Initially, an entity proposes a contract (27)--also known as the charter--to an authorizing body. (28) "An entity can be a partnership, nonprofit or business corporation, labor organization, or any other association, corporation, trust, or other legal entity." (29) The authorizing body then approves the contract and confers to the entity the power and authority to operate the PSA, subject to certain controls and supervision by the state and authorizing body. (30) During the PSA formation and application process, the entity selects and submits the names of the proposed members of the board of directors for the public school academy. (31) The charter school management company is also introduced at this stage.

Management companies are for-profit, private corporations that serve as third party contractors for the charters. Management companies are hired by the board of directors to complete many of the needed tasks for the formation and operation of the PSA. (32) These companies' most commonly contracted obligations are the hiring and firing of staff, custodial duties, accounting, payroll, taxes, book-keeping, organizing parent-teacher conferences, developing and maintaining budgets, securing of supplies, dealing with vendors, and facilitating the overall startup of the school. (33) Unlike the regulatory and administrative restraints faced by public schools, charter school management companies are allowed more autonomy in the performance of their duties. (34) Education Management Organizations (EMOs)--one type of a management company--are "private organization[s] or firm[s] that directly or indirectly receive public funds to manage schools, whether district schools or charter schools." (35)

The contract issued to organize and administer a charter school has several specific requirements. Section 380.503(5) of Michigan Compiled Laws lists the minimum required elements in a valid contract for the formation of a Michigan PSA. (36) Those elements are:

(a) the educational goals and methods by which the school will be held accountable;

(b) a description of the method that will be used to monitor the adherence to those goals and the applicable law;

(c) a description of the amendment process;

(d) incorporation of all the elements required in the application;

(e) an agreement that the employees will be covered by a collective bargaining agreement if authorized by a school board;

(f) procedures and grounds to revoke the contract;

(g) the address and location of the school; and

(h) procedures for financial audits. (37)

Michigan law does not mandate local control of charter schools. (38) Further, the Michigan Supreme Court has held that charter schools may be considered public, irrespective of whether they are under the control of a private board. (39)

The current structure of state education funding is well suited to support charter schools since it is based on a per pupil allowance system. (40) This structure was approved in a 1994 state constitutional amendment known as Proposal A. (41) Since Proposal A's enactment, funding to school districts became based largely on pupil head counts, as opposed to local property values. (42) Per pupil funding provides that if a student leaves a traditional public school for a PSA, that state money received by the school leaves with him or her. (43) Consequently, charter schools that fail to attract and retain students will go out of business. In 2009, Michigan PSAs received an average of $7,412 per pupil, about $2,000 less than the average per pupil amount for traditional public school districts. (44) The fact that PSAs receive fewer dollars for each

student they lure away from traditional public schools provides an incentive to seek out the students who are least expensive to educate since the state already compensates PSAs with a lower per pupil amount. (45) Thus, this funding system provides a clear incentive for charter schools to avoid high-need and high-cost students.

In further support of PSAs, the Michigan Department of Education in 2009 received a Public Charter Schools Program grant for $22.8 million to be used over a three-year period to provide grants to strengthen the pool of charter school developers and support new charter schools. (46) This money came from the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) that was designed to encourage the creation of strong state charter school laws and to expand the number of charter schools by providing support for planning, program design, and initial implementation (47) and solidified Michigan's firm commitment to charter schools. In combination, these laws and grant monies make Michigan's current charter school laws the fifth strongest in the nation. (48)

Michigan's charter school legislation is based on a free market, or neoclassical theory of economics. (49) From the neoclassical perspective, incentives and sanctions matter. (50) Good performance gets rewarded, poor performance is penalized, and employers have the power to hire and fire their employees at will. (51) While perhaps viable as a business model, neoclassicism is not a viable option in the educational setting because it assumes that competition between charter schools and traditional public schools will lead to successful outcomes for students in both settings. In reality, Michigan's traditional public schools are at a huge disadvantage when they compete with charter schools. First, traditional public schools must accept everyone who applies, including the students who leave charter schools. These schools must educate every student, including students with inattentive or absent parents, students with multiple absences, and students with behavior problems. Charter schools often do not compete with traditional public schools for these types of students. Therefore, the market principle that competition fosters mutual school improvement proves to be false because the two types of schools often work with markedly different student populations. As a result of these student differences, Michigan's generous charter school legislation often produces public schools that are economically segregated.


Following Parochiaid, state resources provided to charter schools must be used to benefit Michigan's public school students. (52) Because Michigan's public schools are funded with a per- pupil allotment, the competition for students between PSAs and traditional public schools results in a direct competition for state education dollars. (53) Accordingly, the student characteristics of PSA students must reflect those of their traditional public school counterparts. Recent nationwide research, however, suggests that PSAs tend to leave economically disadvantaged students concentrated in the most disadvantaged traditional public schools.

A. Examination of Michigan's PSAs

Despite Parochiaid's mandate, a multistate study by the Evaluation Center, a well-known research group at Western Michigan University, "supports the conclusion that EMO-operated schools have facilitated the creation of segregated learning environments where students are more isolated by race, class, ability, and language than the public school district from which they were drawn." (54) Gary Miron's findings indicate that federal and state legislation governing PSAs must be amended to remedy this inequitable situation.

The Evaluation Center's study explored the effect of school choice on segregation of public schools. (55) Although this study showcased nationwide findings about both racial and economic segregation in charter schools, (56) this note focuses exclusively on the economic segregation that currently exists in Michigan's PSAs.

School districts use the Free or Reduced Price Lunch (FRPL) figure as a proxy for the poverty level of their enrolled students. (57) "The eligibility guidelines to qualify for a free or reduced price school lunch from July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010, were obtained by multiplying the year 2009 federal income poverty guidelines by 1.30 (free lunch) or by 1.85 (reduced price lunch) and by rounding the result upward to the next whole dollar." (58) Miron's study relied on this FRPL figure to measure the economic status of Michigan's PSA students. (59) For the 2000-2001 school year ninety-eight charter schools--a little more than half of the state's PSAs--participated in the FRPL program. (60)

Miron examined charter schools nationwide that were operated by Education Management Organizations (EMOs). (61) "An EMO is a private organization or firm that directly or indirectly receives public funds to manage schools, whether district schools or charter schools." (62) EMOs manage ninety-five percent of the nation's charter schools and are required to use the same admission criteria as traditional public schools. (63) In Michigan, close to eighty percent of its charter schools are operated by EMOs. (64) Thus, the study's general conclusions indicate patterns in Michigan's EMO-managed PSAs.

There are three types of EMOs: for-profit, non-profit, and a subset of non-profit EMOs called "charter management organizations" (CMOs). (65) "CMOs are distinguished by receiving substantial financial support from private foundations for the purpose of helping bring, what they believe, are successful models up to scale." (66) In Michigan, there are approximately 181 charter schools operated by for-profit EMOs, but less than twenty-five such schools are operated by nonprofit EMOs. (67)

Miron compared each EMO with the district-level dataset from 2006-2007 to determine variations between them. (68) He gathered data from 968 schools nationwide (ninety percent of the nation's EMO-operated schools) (69) and found that "some EMOs enrolled much higher concentrations of low-income students (20.4%) than local districts, while others enrolled few low-income students (55.6%). (70) Whether the low-income students were concentrated in the PSAs or in the traditional public schools, these student groupings were caused by PSAs. Also, "both for-profit and nonprofit EMOs produced 'U'-shaped distributions indicating high segregative effects for poor as well as more affluent students." (71) Finally, "the typical pattern was for some EMO-operated charter schools to serve a high proportion of students qualifying for free-or reduced-priced lunch, while other schools had only a few low-income students." (72) The New York Times has reported on this phenomenon, noting Congress' present concern over the current rise of economic segregation in our nation's public schools. (73)

In his review of relevant literature, Miron also examined a Michigan study of PSAs; finding that "[c]harter schools differed substantially from local districts in terms of ethnic background, family income, and proportion of children with disabilities." (74)

In another earlier study of social stratification in Michigan's PSAs, Yongmei Ni examined FRPL data from 2003 and 2004. (75) Although Ni's results indicated that "PSAs could provide new opportunities for students who struggled academically in their assigned schools, [the results also indicated that] these schools tended to leave behind the most disadvantaged students in the traditional public schools." (76) In particular, low-performing students and students from low-income families became increasingly concentrated in urban traditional public schools. (77) Ni's study concluded that traditional DPS schools had a much higher measure of FRPL, while a fewer proportion of students receiving free and reduced lunches attended the district's PSAs. (78)

Notably, when proponents deny the discriminatory effects of PSAs, Miron emphasizes two important points about these "favorable" studies. First, these researchers pool the data from all PSAs, rather than compare it to traditional public schools in the district. (79) This method of analysis can conceal important school-to-district differences. (80) Miron points out that the correct analysis is one that "disaggregated the data for both charter schools and district schools by race/ethnicity, income, and degree of urbanicity." (81) This sort of analysis, conducted by researchers Carnoy, Jacobsen, Mishel, and Rothstein, helped ensure that similar urban populations were being compared, and revealed that "charter schools enrolled a lower percentage of Black, Hispanic, and White students eligible for a free or reduced-priced lunch than did district schools." (82) Pooling the data also fails to reveal that "when these charter schools were compared to the traditional public schools in the same borough or neighborhood, charter school students were less poor, less likely to be disabled, and more likely to speak English." (83)

Finally, the Citizen's Research Council of Michigan reports that:
   the theory that competition from charter schools will improve
   traditional public schools appears to be untrue in Michigan, where
   the total student population has been declining. A 2009 study of
   the Michigan experience [instead] 'suggests that charter
   competition had a negative impact on student achievement and school
   efficiency in Michigan's public schools'.... [Further, an]
   analysis of school data from 1994 through 2004 revealed that, in
   Michigan, urban districts that had larger proportions of low income
   and African-American students had increasingly significant charter
   competition. 'Charter competition appears to reinforce a vicious
   cycle of enrollment loss, revenue decline, program cuts, lower
   educational quality, and further enrollment loss in those
   districts.' (84)

Comparisons between charter schools and their host districts also reveal that "while charter schools and their host districts as a group enroll roughly equal proportions of low-income students, there are remarkable variations in ethnic and family representation between charter and noncharter schools." (85) "The problem is especially acute among those managed by EMOs, several of which enroll few or no low-income students." (86) EMO-operated charter schools more strongly segregate students who are economically challenged and are "divided into either very segregative high-income schools or very segregative low-income schools." (87) As Michigan contains the second highest number of EMOs, these results suggest that EMO-operated schools contribute significantly to economic segregation in Michigan's PSAs.

B. Federal Legislation Increases Economic Segregation in Michigan's PSAs

Economic segregation in Michigan's PSAs has been further exacerbated due to the federal legislation No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Race to the Top (RTTF). In reference to these two programs, a coalition of civil rights organizations, including the Urban League, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the Rainbow Push Coalition, released a statement that "[s]uch an approach reinstates the antiquated and highly politicized frame for distributing federal support to states that civil rights organizations fought to remove in 1965." (88) RTTT, for example, incentivizes state governments to compete against one another for federal education dollars that all schoolchildren should receive.

NCLB's roots originate with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. (89) The ESEA was a significant component of President Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on Poverty" campaign. Congress' primary intent in its enactment was to increase equity among the nation's schoolchildren by remedying the unequal educational opportunities that existed for different types of students (e.g., based on income level or ethnicity). (90) The most recent reauthorization of ESEA in 2001--which included the No Child Left Behind Act increased the federal government's role in both education and educational funding by authorizing temporary fiscal relief funds provided in the 2008-2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). (91) Significantly, the ARRA was also drafted with the intent of remedying unequal educational opportunities among American schoolchildren. However, because the ARRA operates a grant program that relies heavily on charter schools, it effectively perpetuates economically segregated PSAs in Michigan, or any state that applies for its grants.

On February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed ARRA into law. (92) "The ARRA laid the foundation for education reform by supporting investments in innovative strategies that were most likely to lead to improved results for students" in our nation's public school system. (93) One part of the ARRA was the RTTT fund. (94) RTTT was provided $4.35 billion to create a competitive grant program designed to encourage and reward states that created the conditions for education innovation and reform. (95) States who applied for RTTT funding had to detail their strategies for:
   achieving significant improvement in student outcomes,
   including making substantial gains in student achievement, closing
   achievement gaps, improving high school graduation rates, and
   ensuring student preparation for success in college and careers;
   and implementing ambitious plans in four core education reform
   areas. (96)

RTTT lists six priorities for states to address as they create conditions for education innovation and reform. (97) Priority One, an Absolute Priority, is the applicant state's Comprehensive Approach to Education Reform. (98) An Absolute Priority means that states applying for RTTT funds must implement reform plans in four core education areas. (99) One core area, "[t]urning around our lowest-achieving schools," relies heavily on charter schools as a technique for turning around persistently struggling schools in urban areas. (100) Additionally, RTTT's scoring system allocates up to forty of the possible 500 points for "ensuring successful conditions for high-performing charter schools and other innovative schools." (101)

Because RTTT relies on competitive funding and hand-picking winning states, the majority of low-income and minority children, who may reside in the losing states, will not benefit from additional education funds. (102) RTTT's winning states are hand-picked for dutiful compliance with as many of Congress' mandates as possible.

Using the language of the ARRA, voluntary school integration is also recognized as one of the "innovative strategies that are most likely to lead to improved results for students, long-term gains in school and school system capacity, and increased productivity and effectiveness." (103) One integration goal of ARRA Section 14005(c) is "to improve academic achievement, graduation rates, and other outcomes for children in identifying subgroups (including racial and ethnic minorities and economically disadvantaged students)." (104) Since Congress hopes to improve the chances of economically disadvantaged students, it is unclear why it encourages charter schools; as research has shown that these schools become economically segregated.

Michigan lost in successive applications for RTTT funding on March 30 and August 24, 2010. (105) Reportedly though, "[President Barack Obama] is [planning] to extend [this] competitive grant program ..., calling it the 'most significant education reform initiative we've seen in a generation."' (106) If RTTT continues, Michigan will likely again compete for funding, since the state has been able to provide fewer dollars for public education in recent years. Sadly, Michigan's dismal economic picture means that the state is willing to sign on to legislation that produces economically segregated public schools.

The recognition of "economically disadvantaged students" as an identified subgroup under NCLB reveals another problem that arises when Michigan's PSAs become economically segregated. Under NCLB, Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measures the extent to which schools succeed in educating all students to proficiency in at least reading and mathematics. (107) AYP must be calculated for each school, including charter schools, each school district, and each state. "To make AYP, a school must test ninety-five percent of its students in total in each subgroup of students." (108) If charter schools have few or no "economically disadvantaged" students, they will likely achieve AYP in this particular category since there are fewer students to assess. Finally, NCLB might create more charter schools because it allows local educational agencies (LEAs) to convert low performing Title I schools into charter schools. (109)

Whether or not RTTT funds again become available, if Michigan continues to create and/or operate PSAs without acknowledging the conclusions of Miron's study, it will continue to have a disparate impact on the state's most economically disadvantaged students.

C. Economic Segregation is Harmful to Michigan's Schoolchildren

NCLB has fueled renewed interest in research on understanding the causes of, and solutions to, the widespread disparities in student achievement. The most well known study of student achievement, the Coleman Report, (110) was undertaken in 1965 to investigate the equality of educational opportunity in America as part of the federal government's commitment to overcoming the detrimental effects of poverty. (111) Coleman made two findings. First, that "schools had relatively little impact on student achievement compared to the background of the students who attended these schools." (112) Second, that the "social composition of the student body was the most important factor affecting student achievement; more important than teacher characteristics or school facilities." (113) Since the Coleman study, research has consistently shown that socioeconomic status is often the single most powerful predictor of student achievement. (114) Since income level can be highly correlative to student achievement, it deserves the same level of scrutiny as race with respect to school integration issues.

Nationwide, "over 70% of black students [in the United States] attend predominantly minority schools in 2000," a higher percentage than thirty years earlier. (115) Racial segregation is closely tied to socioeconomic segregation because blacks and Latinos have much higher poverty rates than other racial and ethnic groups. (116) "In 2004, almost one-third of all black and Latino children under the age of eighteen were living in poverty, compared to fourteen percent of white children." (117) Thus, black and Latino children not only are more likely to be poor, they are also more likely to attend schools with other poor children. Data from the fourth-grade results of the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress showed not only that poor students had lower math achievement than students who were not poor, but also that poor and non-poor students had lower achievement in high-poverty schools. (118) According to Erika Frankenberg, any school with a high-poverty, high minority, student population faces challenges that are nonexistent in a school that is racially and economically integrated. (119)

Russell W. Rumberger also investigated student achievement in high-poverty schools. (120) Rumberger used data from standardized math assessments to measure differences between poor students and non-poor students (121) and found a "large achievement gap" between the two groups. (122) He then examined differences in achievement by the concentration of low-income and poor students in students' schools. Since the differences seemed to be largely related to differences in students in their families, Rumberger concluded that future policy interventions should focus on improving family and community resources and practices. (123) He found that students attending private and low-poverty schools had much higher achievement than students attending high-poverty schools. (124) Rumberger's final results suggested that "the sizeable observed differences in fifth-grade achievement associated with the concentration of poor and low-income students in a school were largely explained by differences in the achievement levels of students when they first enter[ed] school." (125) In sum, his analysis revealed
   substantial differences in observed achievement levels of students
   in fifth grade by the concentration of poor and low-income
   students. Students attending high-poverty public schools, where
   more than 75% of the students were poor or low-income, had much
   lower achievement levels than students who attended low-poverty
   public schools, where less than 25% of the students were poor or
   low-income.... [As such,] students attending low-poverty public
   schools retained a significant educational advantage over students
   attending any other type of school. (126)

Rumberger's findings further support the principle that student achievement has the greatest potential for success when the school's population is representative of diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Recent findings by the federal government fortify those made by Frankenberg and Rumberger; as applied to educational opportunities and achievement, their findings reveal a stark contrast between students in high-poverty and low-poverty schools. (127)

As Justice Thomas concurred in Missouri v. Jenkins, "'racial isolation' itself is not a harm; only state-enforced segregation is." (128) A school district's unintentional economic isolation of low-income students in its traditional public schools is not a harm that violates the holding of Jenkins. (129) Though this harm may restrict the educational opportunities of low-income children, economic isolation in traditional public schools based on residential housing patterns is not the type of harm that the Court found inviolate of equal protection principles in Jenkins. (130) Unlike the school district's actions in Jenkins, however, PSAs are not reflective of their surrounding communities' demographics. Rather, PSAs are often comprised of students from different neighborhoods possessing similar characteristics.

Economically segregated PSAs are also bad when they are created through state action. In Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a North district court's order requiring a North Carolina school system to execute a plan with regard to the desegregation of faculty and secondary rezoning and busing. (131) One recent Michigan example of Swann-like state action is the Michigan legislature's successful campaign to raise the cap on PSAs when the state applied for RTTT funds. (132) There is an important difference, however, between Michigan's situation and Swann. In Swann, the state action being remedied was one that intentionally segregated schools. (133) Conversely, there is no indication that Michigan legislators intended to produce economically segregated charter schools, so it is unlikely this legislative action would require judicial intervention to carry out such Brown II remedial measures as upheld by the Court in Swann.


The market theory behind school choice suggests that "[b]y allowing students in low-income neighborhoods access to schools outside of their neighborhoods.... levels of economic segregation in the district will drop." (134) This theory ignores the search costs of accessing information. For parents working full-time in inflexible jobs, the time needed to access and assess this information might be too great. Class disparities between high and low-income families further exacerbate the issue of accessing information; families with less access to good information about educational options may be less likely to participate in the PSA application process. When this happens, it "causes poor students to be left behind in low-performing public schools while the most advantaged students and their more informed parents opt out for schools of choice." (135) In this scenario, parental choice not only drain resources from already struggling public schools, it also exacerbates economic segregation through the cream-skimming of students because only the higher, socially mobile families will be eligible to apply for PSAs.

Economically segregated schools will have a particularly detrimental effect on Detroit at a critical time in the city's history. First, Michigan's charter school laws allow private corporations to build PSAs outside of Detroit's existing residential neighborhoods (136) and this provision can have the effect of removing a "neighborhood school" from its existing location. When private corporations realize that legislation allows them to abandon an existing neighborhood and locate their charter school in a different location, there is no incentive for the corporation to stay and serve the neighborhood. When a charter school leaves an existing Detroit neighborhood and locates to, for example, an economic enterprise zone, (137) the Mayor's goal of creating strong neighborhoods within the city becomes nearly unreachable because these zones are located outside of the very neighborhoods he hopes to strengthen. (138) According to a term applied by David Harvey to the devaluation of inner city housing, "poor families are literally 'blown-out' of their public school districts, losing the benefits accumulated by several generations of labor embodied in the existing public school facilities that are located in the existing neighborhood." (139) Thus, some existing charter schools in Detroit and proposed plans for future charter schools that are located outside of Detroit neighborhoods work directly against the concept of strong neighborhoods desired by the Mayor. As reported by Michigan Citizen, by openly selecting certain schools and neighborhoods they are handpicking to invest money in, [the Mayor and the Detroit Public Schools Emergency ... Manager] are openly denying support to other schools and neighborhoods that are deteriorating." (140) Consequently, some families will be unable to take advantage of these schools because they may lack the resources to travel to their locations.

The Supreme Court in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bd. of Education recognized the importance of the construction and location of new facilities and the closing of old facilities in the desegregation of a dual school system. (141) The Swann Court noted that facility utilization decisions of school officials have often served to create, or enhance, segregation. (142) The Court ruled that "it is the responsibility of local authorities and district courts to see to it that future school construction and abandonment are not used and do not serve to perpetuate or reestablish the dual system." (143) This means that newly built PSAs cannot re-establish segregated schools.

Another negative impact PSAs have on Detroit's traditional public schools is that the market philosophy of competition lying behind PSAs does not always mean that the traditional district responds to the competition by increasing resources for its students. For example, as recent competition from PSAs increased, Detroit Public Schools dedicated a significant portion of their budget to fund the "I'm In." student recruitment campaign. (144) This successful recruitment campaign cost the district approximately $500,000 and brought in 830 students. (145) These monies, instead, could have provided direct resources to students.

One final problem with PSAs is that the intensity of competition behind PSAs changes depending on the enrollment dynamics of school districts. "In districts with growing enrollments, traditional public schools may not feel much competition from PSAs and they might even welcome them as a method of easing their enrollment pressures." (146) "In districts with declining enrollments, however, PSAs can create an intense competition for students and resources, triggering a downward spiral in some of the traditional public schools that are already facing declining enrollments." (147) In conclusion, Michigan should limit its future investment in PSAs.


The Supreme Court has recognized that education is one of the most important functions of state and local governments, (148) and is, perhaps, at the very "apex" of the functions of a state. (149) As such, states must provide their schoolchildren with a quality public education. For Michigan to accomplish this goal, both state and federal education legislation should be amended to reflect the principle that PSAs should not pursue practices that economically discriminate against economically disadvantaged students.

A. Changes To Michigan Legislation

First, PSA charters should be required to contain language that encourages the economic integration of students, so that they are truly public schools entitled to funding that will further their constitutional purpose. (150) Connecticut, for example, requires charter schools to recruit from all segments of a school district. (151) Since Michigan's Revised School Code allows authorizing bodies to revoke PSA contracts if the school fails to abide by and meet the educational goals set forth in the contract, (152) these contracts should include the goal of economic integration so the authorizing body would have authority to revoke the contract in the event of noncompliance.

Second, in Michigan, local school boards should have the authority to authorize PSA applications, the process should be open to the public, and applicants should have the right to appeal to a state agency's decision to deny or revoke a charter. Each of these ideas includes an element of public involvement at different stages of a PSA's existence. Since all aspects of traditional public schools are transparent and reviewable by the members of the community, PSAs (as recipients of public school monies) should be subject to the same public scrutiny. Further, because local control is not essential for characterization as a public school, (153) a potential problem arises when people outside of the public school district (perhaps a board of directors) cannot pay attention to the demographic makeup of its students. Maintaining local control allows local school boards to develop and implement integration plans that emphasize the socioeconomic status of PSA students and potential students. This will be very difficult in Michigan with the recent enactment of "[t]he new emergency manager law, which became effective when Gov[ernor] Rick Snyder signed it on [March 16, 201 1], giv[ing] the state-appointed officials the power to dissolve elected governing bodies in school districts and cities operating at a deficit." (154)

Third, to create additional incentives for schools that are severely economically unbalanced, state integration aid should be awarded to individual schools that are specified percentage more economically integrated than the surrounding community.

Finally, since PSAs recruit many of their students, they should be required to recruit from economically diverse segments of the community. Even though there are recruitment restrictions--charter schools cannot charge tuition and are not allowed to select students based on "intellectual or athletic ability, measures of achievement or aptitude status as a student with a disability, or any other basis that would be illegal if used by a school district," (155)--PSAs may limit admission to students within a particular grade or range. Currently, charter schools can focus recruiting efforts to reflect the desired student population. This practice has a limiting effect on families with limited social mobility and accounts for the hidden costs of attending a "free" public school. Also, most PSAs give enrollment preferences to siblings and children of employees, and current students are exempt from a lottery. (156) This practice, likewise, can contribute to a student population that lacks racial and economic diversity.

B. Changes to Federal Legislation

Federal policy makers, likewise, must consider the economic, social, and ethnic repercussions of charter school legislation on various racial and socioeconomic groups to ensure that it does not create the very problems it was intended to prevent.

Significantly, since RTTT (under NCLB) is a rededication of legislation whose primary goal was the creation of equitable educational opportunities for poor schoolchildren, Congress should stay faithful to the legislation's original intent and remove provisions that have a disparate impact on economically disadvantaged students. Additionally, if states are offered another round of grants in 2011-2012, several of RTTT's provisions should be amended to reflect the original spirit of NCLB and the ESEA.

First, the "Invitational Priorities" language should add a Proposed Priority 7, "Innovative Approaches to Voluntary School Integration." (157) This would encourage newly built charter schools to take positive steps to achieve racial and economic integration among their student populations. Additionally, under Section V.B, "Standards and Assessments," a new section, (B)(4), should be included to support voluntary school integration. (158) The language could read, "The extent to which the State in collaboration with its participating Local Education Associations (LEAs), (159) has a high quality plan for substantially reducing the segregation of low-income children in separate schools, through innovative intra--or inter-district collaborations, magnet schools, transfer programs, or school restructuring and consolidation." This requirement would encourage close analysis of a school district's demographics and lead to remedial programs that combat economic segregation in schools.

Also, Section V.E, entitled "Turning Around the Lowest Achieving Schools," (160) should include incentives and requirements that charter schools funded under this section take affirmative constitutional steps to become economically integrated, both in the initial recruitment for the school and in ongoing marketing. Any new charter school created or funded under RTTT should be required to meet these criteria. Since PSAs can choose their target audience, they should have to remedy any adverse side effects with ongoing recruitment efforts to create diverse student populations.

Finally, the federal government should encourage educational reforms that allocate funding to our schools based on integration programs like PSAs that attract students from diverse racial and economic backgrounds to learn and develop together. These inter-district and metropolitan-wide school desegregation programs would ensure that the best quality education is provided to every student.

C. Charter Schools That Work for Michigan

As states began to allow schools to be authorized by agencies separate and apart from local district control, charters became open to outside entrepreneurs. (161) Gradually, Michigan PSAs became free of the constraints imposed by collective bargaining agreements, district budget allocations, and enrollment criteria. (162) "In essence, these schools 'stopped' functioning as public schools and began catering to a select few." (163)

Charter schools were a response to The National Commission on Excellence in Education's 1983 report--"A Nation at Risk." (164) This unprecedented report asserted that declines in United States students' educational performance were in large part the result of inadequacies in the way the traditional process of education was conducted. (165) In response to these findings, educational leaders began to experiment with new ways of "doing business" in our nation's schools, including the invention of charter schools. (166)

The original model for charters was as alternative public schools that operated inside of traditional public school buildings. (167) Then President of the American Federation of Teachers, Albert Shanker, first defined charter schools as "publicly funded institutions that would be given greater flexibility to experiment with new ways of educating students." (168) In the 1991 Minnesota model, small groups of teachers and parents submitted research-based charter school proposals outlining their plans to educate children in innovative ways. (169) The local school board and teachers' union officials would review these proposals and identify children who would benefit from these alternative teaching strategies. (170) The key component of these original schools was their small size and location inside of existing public neighborhood schools, which meant that they serviced the exact same students who attended the traditional public school. This original design also allowed sustainable neighborhoods to grow from strong neighborhood public schools. There was no chance of economic or racial segregation because students were not leaving their existing public school to attend a charter school that may have admission criteria.

Michigan's PSAs are not the small settings envisioned by Albert Shanker. A recent national study (RPP International, 2000) put the median charter school size across the nation at 137; the median charter school size in Michigan is 288. (171) But even though charters are, on average, smaller than the traditional public school counterparts, the small sizes are not working in Detroit. (172) Charter school students score about the same on state tests as Detroit district students, even though charters have fewer special education students and fewer poor children. (173) Even though critics show that PSAs are not guaranteed to perform any better than traditional public schools, DPS's Emergency Financial Manager views them as a financially viable alternative to closing schools. (174) Thus, it appears that Detroit endorses charter schools because they are a more inexpensive method of educating students; rather than for any record of successfully educating students.

Michigan should implement Shanker's model for its future PSAs. Following Shanker's definition, newly built PSAs in Michigan would be located within existing, or newly built public schools. This type of PSA could also have positive effects on some Detroit neighborhoods because the schools would remain inside the neighborhood and contribute to the surrounding community.

Charter schools under Shanker's original design also complement Detroit's resizing initiative. The Detroit Works Project and the Mayor have repeatedly defined resizing as "shrinking the city." (175) Consistent resizing initiatives have included repurposing vacant land, demolishing abandoned structures, and financial investment in a handful of Detroit's neighborhoods. (176) The most recent description of resizing involves the creation of nine or ten denser areas of the City to be created by Mayoral "incentives" for relocation. (177) PSAs under Shanker's model could serve as an "incentive" in the Mayor's resizing campaign because there would no longer be a need to seek educational opportunities outside the neighborhood. This model would ensure that Michigan's PSAs served all of its students.


America's public schools have, as some of their primary goals, to acculturate, sensitize, and civilize our children to prepare them for their future roles in a democratic society. These goals are now seriously compromised due to the current direction of Michigan's charter school legislation and its participation in the federal government's Race to the Top grant program. Any existence and perpetuation of federal and state education legislation that has the effect of further dividing society is troubling and demands rectification.

Right now, PSAs are an attractive alternative to poorly funded, unionized public schools. Their current success, however, derives largely from state and nationwide economic woes and a belief that free market forces will "fix" public education. Whatever their future role, as public schools, PSAs must provide all students with equal educational opportunities. Research has shown that economic segregation in public schools is a problem that policy makers should pay special attention to as they draft education policy reforms. Children, and democratic societies, are best served by public schools that are located within their neighborhoods and that provide them with the necessary exposure to other children from diverse racial and economic backgrounds.

(1.) Tracy Peters is a 2011 graduate of Wayne State University Law School. Tracy Peters has taught in New York City, Chicago, Detroit and Southfield public schools. Peters earned both her B.A. and M.S. in 1990 from Albion College and Bank Street College of Education, respectively.




(5.) See generally MIRON, supra note 3.

(6.) Russell Rumberger, Parsing the Data on Student Achievement in High Poverty Schools, 85 N.C.L. REV. 1293 (2007).

(7.) CITIZEN'S RESEARCH COUNCIL OF MICH., REPORT 364, NONTRADITIONAL K-12 SCHOOLS IN MICHIGAN 14 (Sept. 2010) [hereinafter NONTRADITIONAL K-I 2 SCHOOLS] (noting that Detroit has the second highest enrollment of charter students nationwide).

(8.) DIANE RAVITCH, THE DEATH AND LIFE OF THE GREAT AMERICAN SCHOOL SYSTEM: How TESTING AND CHOICE ARE UNDERMINING EDUCATION 22 (2010) (describing original charter schools as teacher-created "mini-schools" within existing public schools where groups of teachers "pursue[d] innovative ways of educating.., students").

(9.) Jason Lance Wren, Charter Schools: Public or Private? An Application of the Fourteenth Amendment's State Action Doctrine to These Innovative Schools, 19 REV. LITIG. 135, 136 (2000).

(10.) See MICH. COMP. LAWS [section] 380.501 (2012).

(11.) MICH. COMP. LAWS [section][section] 380.501-380.507 (2012).

(12.) See generally 1-3 Educ. Law [section]3.02 (Matthew Bender & Co., Inc., 2010) (regarding the role of state government in education).

(13.) Council of Orgs. & Others for Educ. About Parochiaid, Inc. v. Engler, 566 N.W.2d 208 (Mich. 1997) (Boyle, J., dissenting) (acknowledging rule).

(14.) MICH. COMP. LAWS. [section]380.501.

(15.) MICH. COMP. LAWS. [section][section] 380.501-380.507.

(16.) NONTRADITIONAL K- 12 SCHOOLS, supra note 7, at 3.


(18.) Id. at 24 (describing the other two educational initiatives as funding and fiscal reform for existing school districts, and the School of Choice Act).

(19.) Governor Engler was governor of Michigan from 1991-2002.

(20.) Parochiaid, 566 N.W.2d 208 (holding that Michigan charter schools are constitutional under Article 8, Section 2 of the Michigan Constitution, which prohibits public funds from going to nonpublic schools).

(21.) See James N. Goenner, Michigan's Chartering Strategy, 12 EDUCATIONNEXT, no. 3, 2012, (online journal) (summarizing Governor Engler's chartering strategy and his business-model prescription for Michigan's broken school system).


(23.) Id.; see also CTR. FOR EDUC. REFORM, 2011 CHARTER SCHOOL LAWS ACROSS THE STATES: RANKING & SCORECARD 2 (2011) [hereinafter 2011 CHARTER SCHOOL LAWS], (select publication hyperlink to download).

(24.) Interview with Dr. Frances Laplante-Sosnowsky, Program Coordinator/Associate Professor, Wayne State Univ. Coll. Of Educ. (Mar. 24, 2011) (on file with author).

(25.) NAT'L ALLIANCE FOR PUBLIC CHARTER SCH., A GROWING MOVEMENT: AMERICA'S LARGEST CHARTER SCHOOL COMMUNITIES 2 (5th ed. 2010), http://www.publiccharters. org/publication/?id=119 (select publication hyperlink to download) (Detroit ranks second in the "Top 10" districts serving the highest number of public charter school students nationwide.).

(26.) MICH. COMP. LAWS [section]380.501.

(27.) See MICH. COMP. LAWS [section] 380.512(2)(d) (2012). This statute defines a "contract"

   [t]he executive act taken by an authorizing body that evidences the
   authorization of a public school academy and that establishes,
   subject to the constitutional powers of' the state board and
   applicable law, the written instrument executed by an authorizing
   body conferring certain rights, franchises, privileges, and
   obligations on a public school academy, as provided by this part,
   and confirming the status of a public school academy as a public
   school in this state.

(28.) See MICH. COMP. LAWS [section] 380.512(2)(a) (2012). This statute defines an "authorizing body" as:

any of the following that issues a contract as provided in this part: (i) The board of a school district that operates grades K to 12; (ii) an intermediate school board, (iii) The board of a community college; (iv) The governing board of a state public university.

(29.) MICH. COMP. LAWS [section] 380.501(e).

(30.) MICH. COMP. LAWS [section] 380.502.

(31.) Id. at [section]380.502(3)(b).

(32.) Telephone interview with Michael Graves, President, Southfield Mich. Educ. Support Pers. Ass'n. (Sept. 14, 2010) (on file with author).

(33.) Id.

(34.) MIRON, supra note 3, at 2.

(35.) Id.

(36.) MICH. COMP. LAWS [section] 380.503(5) (2012).

(37.) Id.

(38.) Parochiaid, 566 N.W. 2d at 221.

(39.) Id. at 218-19.

(40.) MIRON, supra note 3, at 44.

(41.) Id. at 22.

(42.) Id.

(43.) Id. at 43.

(44.) Id. at 22.

(45.) Id.

(46.) NONTRADITIONAL K-12 SCHOOLS, supra note 7, at 40.

(47.) Id.

(48.) Michigan has the fifth strongest laws out of the forty-one states that have enacted charter school laws. See 2011 CHARTER SCHOOL LAWS, supra note 23 (2011 Rank).


(50.) Id.

(51.) Id.

(52.) Parochiaid, 566 N.W.2d at 563 (prohibiting public funds from going to nonpublic schools).

(53.) MIRON, supra note 3, at 22.

(54.) Id.

(55.) Id. at 2.

(56.) Id.

(57.) Id. at 77.

(58.) 74 Fed. Reg. 58, 13411-12 (Mar. 27, 2009).

(59.) MIRON, supra note 3, at 77.

(60.) Id. at 26.

(61.) Id. at exec. sum.

(62.) Id. at 2.

(63.) Id. at exec. sum.

(64.) Education Reforms: Exploring the Vital Role of Charter Schools: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education of the H. Comm. on Education and the Workforce, 112th Cong. 4 (2011) (statement of Dr. Gary Miron, Professor, Western Michigan University).

(65.) MIRON, supra note 3, at 2.

(66.) Id. (citing D.E. Meyerson, R. Quinn & M. Tompkins, Bringing Resources Back On: Philanthropic Elites as Agents of Institutional Change in Education (Ctr. for Philanthropy & Civil Soc'y, Stanford Univ., Working Paper, 2009). See also Diligence and Investment, NEW SCH. VENTURE FUND, (last visited Sept. 10, 2012) (select "current investment strategy" hyperlink), for more details regarding the effort to bring in private resources to support charter management organizations.

(67.) GARY MIRON, ET AL., NAT'L EDUC. POL'Y CTR., PROFILES OF FOR-PROFIT AND NONPROFIT EDUCATION MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATIONS iii, (13th ed. 2012), (available for download) (stating that Michigan has one of the highest numbers of charter schools operated by for-profit EMOs with 181 currently operating in the state); Julie Mack, Michigan Has a Quarter of the Nation's For-Profit Charter Schools: Should We Care?, MLIVE.COM, Jan. 15, 2012, quarter_of_the.html (citing the National Education Policy Center's finding that less than twenty-five nonprofit charter schools operate in Michigan).

(68.) MIRON, supra note 3, at 8.

(69.) Id. at 9.

(70.) Id. at 15.

(71.) Id. at 22.

(72.) Id. at 24.

(73.) Richard D. Kahlenberg, Stronger Schools With an Income Mix, N.Y. TIMES, Jan. 26, 2011,

(74.) MIRON, supra note 3, at 5.

(75.) See generally Yongmei Ni, School Efficiency, Social Stratification, and School Choice: An Examination of Michigan's Charter School Program (2007) (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Michigan State University). (76.) Id. at 42.

(77.) Id.

(78.) Id.

(79.) MIRON, supra note 3, at 4.

(80.) Id.

(81.) Id.

(82.) Id.


(84.) NONTRADITIONAL K-12 SCHOOLS, supra note 7, at 35 (citing Yongmei Ni, The Impact of Charter Schools on the Efficiency of Traditional Public Schools, 28 ECON. EDUC. REV. 571,571-84 (2009)).

(85.) MIRON, supra note 3, at 4.

(86.) Id. at 77 (noting that the limited participation by Michigan charter schools in the federal free and reduced-price lunch program forces the author to draw conclusions about income based on a sample of approximately half the charter schools).

(87.) MIRON, supra note 3, at exec. sum.

(88.) Michelle McNeil, Civil Rights Groups Call for New Federal Education Agenda, EDUC. WEEK, July 26, 2010,

(89.) See generally 20 U.S.C. [section] 6301 et seq. (2002).

(90.) Id.

(91.) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Pub. L. No. 111-5, 123 Stat. 181 (2009).

(92.) U.S. DEP'T OF EDUC., RACE TO THE TOP PROGRAM EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 2 (2009) [hereinafter RACE TO THE TOP], (select "Executive Summary" hyperlink to download).

(93.) Id.

(94.) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [section][section] 14005-14006 (allowing states to apply for state incentive grants, also known as Race to the Top (RTTT Funds)).

(95.) RACE TO THE TOP, supra note 92, at 2.

(96.) Id.

(97.) Id. at 3.

(98.) Id. at 4.

(99.) Id.

(100.) RACE TO THE TOP, supra note 92, at 3.

(101.) Id.

(102.) Id. at 2.

(103.) Notice of Proposed Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria for the U.S. Department of Education's Race To The Top Fund, 74 Fed. Reg. 37,803, 37, 804 (Dep't of Educ. July 29, 2009).

(104.) Letter from Philip Tegeler et. al (representing various civil rights institutions), to U.S. Dep't of Educ, Office of Elementary & Secondary Educ. 1 (Aug. 24, 2009); see also American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [section] 14005(c).

(105.) See Michigan 21st in 'Race to the Top,' EDUC. REP., Mar. 30, 2010, at [paragraph] 2, (stating that only two states, Delaware and Tennessee, qualified for first-round funds); Don't Stop Race to the Top Education Reform, MLIVE.COM, Aug. 3, 2010, at [paragraph] 2, http://www.mlive. com/opinion/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2010/08/editorial_dont_stop_race_to_th.html (stating that Michigan also lost the second-round of funds).

(106.) Marisa Schultz, No Consensus on No Child Left Behind, DET. NEWS, Mar. 24, 2011, at B1.

(107.) RAVITCH, supra note 8, at 97-8.


(109.) Id. at 98.

(110.) See generally JAMES S. COLEMAN, EQUALITY OF EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY (1966) (also known as the "Coleman Report").

(111.) JAMES S. COLEMAN, EQUALITY AND ACHIEVEMENT IN EDUCATION 67-164 (1990) (summarizing his research and providing commentary).

(112.) Id. at 325.

(113.) Id.

(114.) JULIAN R. BETTS, ET. AL., PUB. POL'Y INST. OF CAL., EQUAL RESOURCES, EQUAL OUTCOMES? THE DISTRIBUTION OF SCHOOL RESOURCES AND STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN CALIFORNIA IV (2000), (select "full report" hyperlink to download); Guang Guo & Kathleen M. Harris, The Mechanisms Mediating the Effects of Poverty on Children's Intellectual Development, 37 DEMOGRAPHY 431,442 (2000).


(116.) Id. at 35.

(117.) Rumberger, supra note 6, at 1295.

(118.) See U.S. DEP'T. OF EDUC., THE CONDITION OF EDUCATION 2003, at 33 (2003),

(119.) See FRANKENBERG, supra note 116.

(120.) Rumberger, supra note 6, at 1304.

(121.) Id. at 1301.

(122.) Id.

(123.) Id. at 1307.

(124.) Id. at 1306.

(125.) Id. at 1310-11.

(126.) Rumberger, supra note 6, at 1313.

(127.) Id. at 6.

(128.) Missouri v. Jenkins, 515 U.S. 70, 122 (1995).


(130.) Jenkins, 515 U.S. at 102.

(131.) Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bd. of Educ., 402 U.S. 1, 7 (1971) (stating that all parties agreed that the North Carolina school system in 1969 fell short of "achieving the unitary system" mandated by state courts following the Brown 1 holding that segregated school systems violated the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, and the Brown H holding that required immediate remedial measures).

(132.) Martin Ackley, Michigan's Race to the Top Application Secures All Three Key Signatures, (May 11, 2010), available at,1607-14037818_34785-236816--,00.html.

(133.) Swann, 402 U.S. at 7.

(134.) Deborah M. Warnock, The Effect of Charter School Enrollment on Economic Segregation in Ohio's Public Schools (paper presented at the Am. Sociological Ass'n's annual meeting) (Aug. 2008), at 4.

(135.) Id. at 6.

(136.) See MICH. COMP. LAWS [section][section] 380.502(3)(c)(ii) and (e)(ii) (requiring the application for a charter to include the intended purpose for creating the public school academy and a copy of its academic goals).

(137.) Enterprise zones are designated areas within a city where tax abatements are offered to property owners, usually for the purpose of reducing blighted areas or redevelopment. Detroit's busiest areas are downtown, Midtown, and Corktown. See Marti Benedetti, Zones of Opporunity, CRAIN'S DET. BUS., Aug. 21, 2006, http://www.crains

(138.) Press Release, The Detroit Works Project, Opportunities and Challenges (Sept. 2010) (on file with author).


(140.) Diane Bukowski, Money talks, Detroit silenced: Who's listening to the grassroots?, MICH. CITIZEN, Oct. 5, 2010, at Al.

(141.) Swarm, 402 U.S. at 20-21.

(142.) Id. at 21.

(143.) Id.

(144.) See Det. Pub. Sch., Presentation of Gold Medallion Award Sumbission to the Nat'l Sch. Pub. Relations Ass'n: "I'm In!" Blue Door Student Retention Campaign (2010),

(145.) Id. at Evaluation.


(147.) Id.

(148.) Brown v. Board of Educ., 347 U.S. 483, 493 (1954) (Brown I).

(149.) Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205, 213 (1972).

(150.) Parochiaid, 566 N.W.2d at 212.

(151.) CONN. GEN. STAT. [section] 10-66aa-ff (2011) (including a provision that allows charter schools outside this range to continue operating if a monitoring board finds that the school enrolls students in a nondiscriminatory manner).

(152.) MICH. COMP. LAWS [section] 380.502(6).

(153.) Parochiaid, 566 N.W.2d at 219.

(154.) Doug Guthrie & Jennifer Chambers, Bobb Gains Control of DPS Academics, Judge Reverses Stand After Snyder Signs Financial Manager Bill, DET. NEWS, Mar. 19, 2011,

(155.) MICH. COMP. LAWS [section] 380.504(2) (2012).

(156.) See Admission Policies, R.I. HIGHLANDER CHARTER SCH., http://highlander

(157.) See Overview Information; Race to the Top Fund Assessment Program; Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, 75 Fed. Reg. 19,496 to 19,497 (Dep't of Educ., Apr. 14, 2010) (listing the Invitational Priorities; Priorities Three to Six). The U.S. Department of Education ranks applications for RTTT funding based on three priority tiers. First, the Department of Education only accepts applications from schools that meet the Absolute Priority (Priority One) criteria. Next, schools that meet the criteria for the Competitive Priority (Priority Two) will be rewarded an additional fifteen points. Finally, schools that meet the criteria of Invitational Priorities (Priorities Three through Six) signal the interest of the Department, but do not receive any preferential treatment. Id.

(158.) See id. at 19,503 to 19,504 (referring to Section V.B of the selection criteria applied by the application reviewers).

(159.) LEAs are local educational agencies that exist primarily to operate schools or to contract for educational services, including primary and secondary public and private schools. See generally U.S. DEP'T. OF EDUC, LEA AND SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: NONREGULATORY GUIDANCE (last revised July 21, 2006).

(160.) 75 Fed. Reg. at 19,505.

(161.) MIRON, supra note 3, at 21.

(162.) Id. at 30.

(163.) Id. at exec. sum.


(165.) Id.

(166.) RAVITCH, supra note 8, at 28.

(167.) Id. at 122.

(168.) Id. at 123.

(169.) Id.

(170.) Id.

(171.) MIRON, supra note 3, at 35.

(172.) Michael Weinrip, For Detroit Schools, Mixed Picture on Reforms, N.Y. TIMES, Mar. 13, 201 l, =&pagewanted.

(173.) Id.

(174.) Id. An Emergency Manager has many powers when a municipality or district faces a financial emergency. Under the Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act, Act No. 4, 201 l, Mich. Pub. Acts (codified at MICH. COMP. LAWS [section][section] 141.1501 et. seq.) (known as Public Act 4). Under Public Act 4, Emergency Managers have the authority to close schools and lease assets of a school district. However, Public Act 4 is currently suspended pending a statewide November 2012 ballot referendum, and 1990 P.A. 72, MICH. COMP. LAWS [section] 141.1201-141.1291 is reactivated pending the vote of the electors at the November 2012 election. Under 1990 P.A. 72, DPS' Emergency Financial Manager has control over all fiscal matters of the District. The Detroit Board of Education has appointed an unpaid Superintendent with the responsibility in academics

(175.) Press Release, The Detroit Works Project, Opportunities and Challenges (Sept. 2010) (on file with author).

(176.) Nancy Kaffer, Foundations, City at Brink of Plan to Shrink Detroit, CRAIN'S DET. BUS., Jan. 27, 2010,

(177.) Jeff Gerritt, Dave Bing Says There'll Be Incentives for Detroiters to Move, DET. FREE PRESS, Dec. 9, 2010, 12090488/1319.
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Author:Peters, Tracy
Publication:Journal of Law in Society
Date:Dec 22, 2012
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