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Posted on Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 11:52 a.m.

Ann Arbor lawmaker: charter schools making profit off educating Michigan children is unacceptable

By Ryan J. Stanton

State Sen. Rebekah Warren says her proposal to ban for-profit schools in Michigan wouldn't mean the end of charter schools — they'd just have to operate as nonprofit entities.

And that would be a big change from current practice, she said.

"Already in Michigan, four of five charter schools are operated by private, for-profit education management organizations," said Warren, D-Ann Arbor, adding a GOP proposal to lift the cap on charter schools would lead to even more for-profit schools in Michigan. "Allowing these organizations to continue profiting off the backs of our children is unacceptable."


Rebekah Warren

Warren and Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, formally announced plans today to introduce a constitutional amendment banning schools operated by for-profit entities in Michigan.

In October, Senate Republicans pushed legislation that would remove Michigan's cap on charter schools, which Democrats argued opens the doors to more for-profit schools and increased privatization of teachers and school workers.

The constitutional amendment being contemplated, Warren said, aims to protect children from having their education compromised at the expense of corporate profits.

"Our education institutions should not be guided by a mission statement focused on making a profit," Warren said. "Michigan's children deserve to receive an education focused on their success and empowerment — a mission with no room for profits and corporate management."

Hopgood said an approach that encourages businesses to make a profit off educating children is "shameful" and "will make public schools an endangered species."

"A quality education is not a commodity simply to be bought or sold," he said. "We must take action to prevent our children's future from being auctioned to the highest bidder."

The Associated Press reported today that it's unlikely the ban would advance in the Republican-led Legislature, and the Republican-led House Education Committee is resuming discussions on the competing legislation to allow more charter schools in Michigan.

The state has roughly 250 charter schools. Supporters say more should be allowed to boost educational options in public schools.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.



Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.

I am stunned at the paucity of information upon which many commenters are basing their opinions on the value of Charter Schools, let alone the "for profit" issue. According to many studies and evaluations that have been done nationally as well as locally, a small percentage of charter schools do as well if not better than the public schools, the vast majority do not do as well in terms of quality of the educational offerings. The "for profits" are not in the best interests of quality education. Why wouldn't Michigan resident demand that quality controls be included as part of any legislative effort in regards to Charter Schools? Why allow Charter Schools to operate at a lower level of quality than the public schools? The scam that is being perpetuated about public schools making a profit - please - do some reading about school funding, etc. No matter what the structure of a school system, private, private charter or public, there are workers that are paid a salary. If the intent is to deliberately mis-inform by making such statements, then it appears there is discomfort in discussing the facts.


Sat, Dec 3, 2011 : 3:41 p.m.

Seasons, Donbee and Chris: Your relevant thread is encouraging and in stark contrast to the garbage I've weeded through here. I believe in charter schools. I'm not politically motivated to attack anyone, either. I want to get your ideas on the for-profit model versus the non-profit. I pose this scenario: -Two charter schools, exactly the same [I know, I know], but one is profit and one non-profit. -Both are doing a good job, scholastically -Both make profit (surplus in non-profit speak) -The NP uses the money solely for the benefit of the school, either as reserve, pay raises, improvements made, investments to increase reserve -In the for-profit, business executives decide how to spend their profit. That last point makes me nervous. And, I think, in five years time, the non-profit, using their surplus for the sole benefit of the school, would naturally grow to be the better institution. Another scenario, quite different than the first, is one where a group of unethical corporations use a right now, money-based model to start charter schools. If they close in five years for bad performance, the investors still would have potentially made a profit. The worse part, of course, is the students that attended those schools would now be at a deficit, scholastically. Any thoughts? -


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 3:33 a.m.

Chris - The studies from Western are biased and continue to get more biased over time. Western was planning to be the major charter organization in the state and they lost out. I will lay 3 to 1 odds the author of the studies at Western was supposed to be a key person in the charter organization at Western. As to the Washington Post article, well it is nice, but show me the primary research behind the article, please. I have tried to follow the links to the underlying reports. The only one that is clear is the flawed Stanford study. I find all the studies that I have found (pro or con) to be flawed and biased. In most cases a statistics professor would "have a cow" at the way the statistics are misused in these reports. In many cases the numbers do not match the verbage. Please see my analysis in the other 3 threads on this issue here on AA.COM


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:21 p.m.

DonBee, too easy for you to say the Western studies are biased . We can all call one another out for being biased on this topic - we will each see a certain report being slanted, either in the wrong or right &quot;direction&quot; depending upon our feelings on the topic. WPost article from 2009: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 8:29 p.m.

Seasons - References please. I want to see and read those studies. The Stanford one is heavily biased, so much so that other professors at Stanford attacked the methodology. The ones from Western have a strong underlying bias that allows them to &quot;prove&quot; that charters are bad, but the reality is the numbers don't match the words. Of 9 studies that I have spent time crawling through, none have an underlying basis that I would call unbiased. This includes both studies that show charters are great and that charters are bad. So if you have a study that you like, please post the reference. I would love to read and understand a 10th one. Right now, all I can say is that in a number of urban areas, charters are graduating a higher percentage of students and more of those students are completing college. That is about all I can point to as unbiased information.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

Of course a dumbmocrat. Dancing to strings of the union bosses.

Thomas Craft

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

One commenter says &quot;All teachers should be non-profit professionals.&quot; I'm wondering what folks think that a GOOD teacher should be making. Should they make a &quot;professional&quot; wage with &quot;professional&quot; benefits? Or, should they be paid closer to what workers in the service industry are paid?


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:05 p.m.

BTW all people that work in non-profits ARE non profit professionals. They do not get a bonus, stock options, access to company jets, etc.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 12:47 p.m.

Public education not for profit...what planet do these people come from ???? public education exist to profit the MEA , the teachers union the democratic reps and lobbyists that support the ponzi scheme with pleading commercials about how children will suffer...balderdash...

Donna Wettig Hitz

Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 2:59 a.m.

Making any business a non-profit does not mean that no one will profit from the business. Non-profit status is generally sought and granted for businesses seeking to collect money to operate and/or assist others and not to be taxed. It will simply mean that non-public schools will be forced to spend money, that could otherwise be used on educating students, filing paperwork and being further under government control. Is this Ms. Warrens intent? Doesn't government control invade enough of our rights already?


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 2:36 a.m.

Even in excellent school districts, there will be students who are not a good fit in their traditional neighborhood school. And while there are students who can and do succeed in appalling bad schools, more students will succeed in more cases when they and their parents believe the school is a good fit. Charter schools no matter their funding model, are an excellent way to allow schools with different personalities and educational approaches to develop and to find their best-fit students. That the option of a well-run, effective for this particular student school be publicly funded and therefore free for students to attend matters most to students from poor families, the ones who can 't afford any other choices. Senator Warren is merely seeking publicity with this proposal. Neither legislation to the same effect nor a constitutional amendment will go anywhere in this political climate. And for this I am deeply grateful. If Warren really cared about getting the best possible education for the greatest number of students, she would be pursuing a constitutional amendment to let &quot;the funding follow the student&quot; to any school that meets Michigan's BoE curriculum guidelines, whether traditional public, charter, parochial, or private.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 2:13 a.m.

Before tackling this, I appreciate our lawmakers figuring this out: Why do communities like Ann Arbor pay $75,000 per Special Ed Student for education, when the rest of the kids get $5,000 per year? For a Special Ed student in the district for all 12 years, that is $900,000 spent on their education. But, for the rest of us, our kids receive $60,000 of education cost. Don't believe me, check out the data yourself. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Page 13. Special Ed - $19.5 million on staff fees, but 259 students (Full Time Equivalents). A completely inefficient, wasteful bureaucratic tangle of &quot;laws.&quot; Special Ed has just continually received money out of fear for what might happen when someone says &quot;no.&quot; And spare the typical &quot;You are so insensitive...&quot; Even 5 times the average student, though still outrageous, should be completely generous and benevolent on my part.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 1:08 a.m.

Here's a case of Warren representing a select special interest group rather than the citizenry as a whole.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 12:54 a.m.

The NUMBER ONE GOAL of any for profit business is to MAKE A PROFIT. If no profit ...the business will fail. Therefore all decisions regarding the education of children in any for profit education activity is always based how will it impact the bottom line and not necessarily what is best for students. Contrary to what some may believe, in other posts, Public Education is non profit and open to ALL.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 12:29 a.m.

Sen Warren's proposed amendment solves nothing. A non-profit can hire a for profit management company. The school is not for profit, the management company is for profit - and you are completely around the amendment. School administrations run on a for profit basis, don't believe me? Look at the pay, benefits and peaks they get. As to banning profit in the school systems, does that mean every vendor the schools should be not for profit? If so the electric company, the gas company, the bus manufacturer, etc would all have to be non-profit - that is the only way to avoid the for profit management company. As to the charter schools more than half the children who attend charter schools nationally are on reduced price or free lunches, an indication that they come from homes that are probably at or below the poverty line. We need to provide options, encouragement and support for children from this part of our society. It is NOT OK to throw away children just because they are born in poverty. The Democratic party has used the poor as a voter base, and tried to keep them dumb and poor with bad schools and handouts, rather than educate and lift them up. The Republicans are not much better because they ignore that segment of society rather than actively cultivating more of it. SHAME on Sen Warren for working to trap the children of Detroit in a life of poverty. Shame of the American Federation of Teachers for keeping Mr. Thompson from opening 4 non-profit schools in Detroit. Shame on the ruling class (both Republicans and Democrats) for not holding the urban school districts feet to the fire to educate children. Sen. Warren - if you want my vote, come up with a way to help Detroit and other failing districts. Otherwise, do us all a favor, take the MEA money and do nothing.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 12:11 a.m.

Is anyone surprised. The MEA spent quite a bit of money to put Alma Wheeler-Smith's daughter-in-law over Pam Byrnes, who made the mistake of actually being open-minded towards education reform while in the House, in the 2010 primary. Alma Wheeler-Smith's daughter-in-law is just paying them back for their help.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 11:37 p.m.

Another Ann Arbor democrat stooge in the pocket of the unions - what a shock. Can you look into their eyes and know that they're learning in the unionized schools even though their test scores are among the worst in the country in some Michigan schools? ....but like obama, it's all about paying back the unions for all that luscious political support. THE CHILDREN COME LAST.

Steve Pierce

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 11:26 p.m.

If they are forced to be non-profit, doesn't that mean they no longer have to pay property taxes. Don't for profit entities pay property taxes? No property taxes means no revenue to local communities for police and fire. Exactly how does that help us? - Steve


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:15 p.m.

I should have said the charter school is already not paying taxes. Nothing would be coming off the tax rolls.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:14 p.m.

No - big misunderstanding here. The charter school is a non-profit entity but the charter school can contract with a for-profit firm to manage and run the school. The school does NOT pay property taxes.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 10:32 p.m.

What's unacceptable is a public employee's union, the MEA, holding a monopoly position on publicly funded education, much more powerful than the local school boards who negotiate with it, and uses that monopoly power and its members dues to support politicians who sacrifice the public good to the MEA's interests. Ms. Warren is an MEA tool, and her opinions about charter schools are predictable and worthless.

Stephen Landes

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 9:38 p.m.

Profit is what investors require in order to put up the money to create a business. In the case of a school this is the money needed to build or acquire a building, equipment, supplies, and hire staff. In a privately held school this money comes from people who lend it to the project in expectation of a return on their investment. In a public school there is a similar cost of funds for investing, but it is hidden in school funds derived from taxes. If you think tax payers aren't paying for the cost of money in a public school because there is no &quot;profit&quot; involved then you simply don't understand business or finance. &quot;There ain't no such thing as a free lunch&quot; even in school (it's subsidized by tax payers). For-profit schools have their own funds on the line -- satisfy the customer (parents and students) or lose your investment. The possibility of going broke concentrates the mind in a way that agitating for increases in taxes and payments from government do not. The real reason that SEN Warren is proposing this constitutional amendment is that it is the wish of the Democrat Party/MEA alliance to any schools of choice not beholden to the unions out of business so the union monopoly and the flow of union dollars to Democrat politicians can continue unabated. This whole argument on the part of the unions and Democrats is about power and money. Those left out of the picture are children, parents, and those teachers more interested in teaching than political power. The next thing on their list will be to &quot;investigate&quot; political contributions from private education companies to politicians. What will be missing from that &quot;investigation&quot; will be the financial and in-kind contributions of the unions to politicians. I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of those contributions will be to Democrats; proving that this whole tempest is merely a fight for political power -- your kids and their futures are not the issue.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:13 p.m.

Funny, because folks argued that charter schools were first green-lighted by Governor, crap, forgetting his name..after Blanchard...the charters were green-lighted because Republicans were threatened/scared of teacher unions and charters were a way to weaken teacher unions - turnabout isn't fair play?

average joe

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 9:55 p.m.

Exactly. The MEA is being threatened by competition that they have no control over. Enter Sen Warren. This has nothing to do with quality of education, only the weakening of a monopoly that one group has held for far too long.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 9 p.m.

I sent my son to private school for $8000 per year for one year and that was the best year of his educational life so far. The public school system takes more money to do the same job and protects bad teachers. There are classes that none of the students want the teacher in and they are forced to take the class anyhow. I have seen my son fluorish under one teacher and be told the next time he takes math class he has to take it with a teacher who can't teach. The results are he doesn't learn the material and his GPA drops; he gets discouraged and then doesn't like math anymore. What a great system! But that teacher stays there forever while people push for more choice and Rebekah Warren cries about it. She doesn't get it and believe me pressure is being brough upon her by the MEA. You can't ignore ineffective teachers when people have the choice to walk away from what you offer. We're raising the standards on our kids but not fixing the teacher problem. Not everyone can teach. I have been through graduate school and a lot of post graduate work and can tell you for certain that not all can teach. In a union environment all teachers are encouraged not to rock the boat and to seek mediocrity. I'm all for paying a fair wage but somehwere along the line we lost control of our schools.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 8:41 p.m.

I'm always amazed at the &quot;Let's make sure all our kids get the same inferior instruction&quot; argument against charter schools in incompetent areas. After all, if there aren't enough lifeboats for everybody, let's let them all drown -


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 3:27 a.m.

Epengar - The teacher's unions MEA and AFT have done a wonderful job at keeping pure charities out of the education picture in Michigan in terms of charter schools. Look at what happened to the Thompsons when they offered to open and operate 4 charter schools in Detroit. They were willing to underwrite many of the annual expenses as well. They were run out of town on a rail. So this amendment would close the other door on the barn.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 10:14 p.m.

This is only about for-profit charter schools, not all charter schools.

average joe

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 8:17 p.m.

So the plan is to abolish all &quot;for profit&quot; schools, and forcing established &amp; proposed charters to be non-profits. Doesn't that mean that the 'public schools' would have more competition? It's the 'public schools' that are constantly operating at a deficit...... (non-profit) year in-year out, spend all the money &amp; when the coffers get low, threaten to layoff teachers. But if the charters CAN operate under a non-profit status, and actually flourish &amp; keep on building new schools, etc, and in the end are better financial managers with our tax money than their 'public school' counterparts, what kind of protectionism (all for the children, of course) will our fine Sen. Warren deem necessary then? Local Charters have demonstrated academic success already, let parents decide where they want to send their children.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 7:31 p.m.

&quot;A quality education is not a commodity simply to be bought or sold,&quot; he said. &quot;We must take action to prevent our children's future from being auctioned to the highest bidder.&quot; Because?????? Where is her arguement? Why is this bad? She is ranting but never gives us a real position as to why this is bad! &quot;Our education institutions should not be guided by a mission statement focused on making a profit,&quot; Warren said. &quot;Michigan's children deserve to receive an education focused on their success and empowerment — a mission with no room for profits and corporate management.&quot; This is bad because???? deserve, should not, want not etc etc This is the essence of a politician making a statement and wanting to change something with no context as to why the change is bad - other than she thinks it is. What an intellectual lightweight.

Susie Q

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 6:57 p.m.

No more charter schools until they demonstrate their success. We do not need more ineffective charters. They were supposed to offer choice to families in failing districts, but most charters are not as successful as the public schools. Folks claim to want accountability, but not when it comes to charter schools. We should not allow new charter schools to open unless they can point to their past and current successes.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 10:24 p.m.

Average...This is one of the reasons I don't like these academies. Yes, they may have had great test scores, but was it because it was a great school or because only good students went there? Give the test to the top ten percent in just about any public shool in the state and they will do very, very well. This test in no way shows the real level of learning that has gone on. So we take the better students out of the public schools. What does that leave behind?


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 8:05 p.m.

Frederica now you know why I'm so against not having a choice, I'm a product of public schools. How does that make you feel about your tax dollars being wasted? I know my parents didnt get their moneys worth, and they knew at the time I wasnt getting a good education but had no other choice.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 7:47 p.m.

Fredrica, Please don't be a bully. I think Cinnabar did a great job putting her thoughts together.

average joe

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.

Susie- South Arbor academy test scores were the 7th highest of ALL elementary schools in the state a couple of years ago.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 7:11 p.m.

Susie Q I dont care how bad a charter school is as long as people have a choice, I know I will use that choice to my kids advantage. Its really to bad we have parents that just dont care about their kids. My sons mother wants to pull our kid out of a very good private school because she doesnt have bus service and she doesnt want to get out of bed to drive him to school. She asked me the other day why he couldnt just go to Willow Run Schools because they have a bus service. My response was he can go to Willow Run as soon as a Judge orders it.

John of Saline

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

A new school can't open unless it &quot;can point to their past and current successes&quot;? Um, if it's a NEW school, then it'll have no history to point to.

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 6:48 p.m.

To be consistent, teachers should not &quot;profit&quot; off the backs of our children, either. All teachers should be non-profit professionals. Of course, the union prevents that from happening. It's all about money and benefits, and they are willing to threaten illegal strikes to get their way. This argument has become completely derailed from the idea that we should ensure children get the most for the money spent on education.

Linda Peck

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 6:44 p.m.

To say the charter schools are making a profit is totally ridiculous! Politicians have a way with words, don't they?


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

Why else would a for-profit firm agree to run a charter school? Charity? They're in it to make money. It's their business, like Ford and GM making and selling cars.

John of Saline

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 6:23 p.m.

Should all contractors working with schools also be banned from profiting? Where does it end?


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 6:14 p.m.

I am curious what sort of profit these companies pull out of the schools they run? I am surprised that this story did not report any numbers.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

See my first reply in this thread. The for-profits DO NOT have to report their profits.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 12:18 a.m.

Billy Bob Schwartz - If children like to come to school, there is a likelihood they will be there more and learn more. I know when I am interested and engaged, I seem to do better. How about you?

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 10:18 p.m.

When EAI tried to take over the Pinckney schools, their plan was to get a 10% profit. Gee, wouldn't want that money going to teacher benefits in order to attract decent teachers, would we? According the the administrators at the Baltimore schools they were running, they were very proud of the fact that 1) lots of kids now liked to come to school, and 2) the hallways didn't smell like urine anymore. Ten percent surcharge, please!

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 6:49 p.m.

I'm not surprised. This is just an MEA talking point. There are no numbers to report, because the goal has nothing to do with educating children.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 6:03 p.m.

Status quo. That same old baloney line that dismisses other points of view. Education is expensive. You need modern facilities, teachers paid a professional wage and updated materials and technology. Education needs big changes--but not as simple as charter/for profit schools doing the same thing. Charter schools/for profit schools/ public schools are only as good as the experiences and desire to learn the students attending bring and the parents commitment to the kid.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:57 p.m.

Why are schools always to blame ? What about the parents who don't do their jobs at home ? I think that charter schools are actually allowed to use SOME discipline with their students which is why I sent my son to one

Top Cat

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

Ms. Warren is again supporting the failed stagnant quo. How about putting the successful education of our children first. If for-profit schools are more successful and economical, then parents should be provided this choice.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:09 p.m.

Top Cat, please provide proof to the contrary, that charter schools are somehow superior to public.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 12:16 a.m.

Susie Q - Please provide proof of your statement. Even the Stanford University report that Sen Warren wants to use, is suspect on the claims that the charters don't do as well or better. So, please if you have proof they are not better, please provide the references.

Susie Q

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 7:02 p.m.

Charter schools are NOT more successful.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:46 p.m.

O.K. take away the MEA and AFT. I have a graduate degree and I want a professional wage and good benefits. So you want to pay a big business a big profit and the teacher a low salary and that is going to make education better and cost effective!!!!!!!!!!!!! My question to all the union bashers is: Why aren't you asking your employer for a competitive wage, good health care and a pension? You were sold a bill of goods called an IRA--how is that going for you? Teachers have been taking wages freezes, wage and health care cuts for the past 5-8 years. I am with Rebekah Warren--public education in America should not be for profit.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 8:58 p.m.

Just because you &quot;want&quot; it doesn't mean it should &quot;be&quot; your attitude of entitlement at taxpayer expense, your refusal to accept economic reality with unsustainable salaries and benefit costs is what makes me a &quot;opposed to unions&quot;. You are with Rebecca Warren because she is bought and paid for by the unions representing your self interest rather than the education of our children. Teachers unions are profiting greatly via public education..................


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 12:15 a.m.

aareader - Step increases continue, so many teachers are getting automatic raises and raises for additional degrees. Not everyone gets one, some people have topped out already. As to asking an employer for more, not in this economy, if you are not a public sector employee. Even the private sector union jobs have had to absorb cuts. The average wage earner in Michigan has seen a $4,000 reduction in wages and benefits over the last 5 years. So if you have only seen a wage freeze, you are ahead of the average. Be thankful. Be very thankful if that is the case.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 7:14 p.m.

The wage freezes that you reference, does that or does that not apply to step increases?


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:40 p.m.

Public education is already a for profit business. The profits are going to the superintendent, administrators, and teacher pension and healthcare benefits. The students are not receiving any of the benefits. They have classrooms fashioned out of the 20th century. At least charter schools are honest and say they are for profit. All students regardless of where they reside deserve to have an excellent education. Charter schools allow all students this opportunity. Let's let the families decide what is best for their family.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

Epengar- The majority of charter schools are&quot; for profit&quot;. As are the traditional public schools. This is all semantics. It really does not matter if you are for profit or not for profit(in my opinion), because someone is going to make a profit. Why should traditional public schools be run to profit everyone except the students? If any institution needs greater scrutiny it should be the traditional public schools. If you are providing a valuable service you have nothing to worry about. Please give families the benefit of knowing what is the best choice for their families. We have all payed way too many of our hard earned tax dollars into a system which is failing way too many students. It is way past time to put the needs of the students ahead of the adults. I do respect your opinion, but we are at opposite spectrums and keep going in circles. I am so thankful we are able to voice our opinions, and believe we all deserve a right to choose where our children receive their education. Thanks, Epengar


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 4:15 a.m.

thankfulmom, this is not about traditional schools vs. charter schools, it's about for-profit vs. non-profit charter schools. Why should charter schools be run for a profit? Why shouldn't all the tax money going to charter schools be spent on the school and the students?


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 1:28 a.m.

snapshot, supporters of charter schools also hire lobbyists. It's not like the MEA has a monopoly on them.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 12:03 p.m.

Epengar- Thank you for responding . So, for profit charter schools spend most of the public money they receive on educating students,but some they keep and use to pay shareholders. What is wrong with that? I really do not care if you call yourself for profit or non profit. just provide the students with the very best education. Your argument seems to be you assume every decision about how a for profit school is run will have &quot;how much can the corporation keep?&quot; as part of its guiding principle. If this is the case, then students and parents will not be happy and the charter school, for profit or not for profit will close. What guiding principles do the tradtional public schools have? Who are their shareholders? It does not appear to be the students.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 5:16 a.m.

thankfulmom, there are both non-profit and for-profit charter schools. Both types, like regular public schools, get tax money from the state for each student they have enrolled. The difference between the two types is that in a for-profit operation, they spend most of the public money they get on educating kids, but some of it they keep, and use it to pay shareholders that's how the corporation that runs the school makes a profit. In a non-profit charter school, all the money gets spent running the school and educating the students. The CEOs and other officers of for-profit corporations are required by law to make sure that the stock owners who actually own the corporation get a profit. So every decision about how a for-profit school is run will have &quot;how much can the corporation keep?&quot; as part of its guiding principles. This isn't about charter schools vs. public schools, this is about for-profit charters vs. not-for-profit charters.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 1:16 a.m.

Epengar I understand the teacher's union functions a lot like a corporation when it comes to looking out for their self interest. I also understand that they hire lobbyist to take Warren to lunch and donate to her campaigns. I also consider this to be extremely unbalanced when it comes to serving the children.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 1 a.m.

Epengar- Sorry, I was needed by my little one. I would expect to have students profit by traditional public schools because they call themselves non profit. Yet, I do not see the students receiving any of the profits. Then we have for profit charter schools who are supposed to be the bad guys, yet the students are receiving all the profits . The profits being a 21st century curriculum. The goal of public education is to provide students with the best possible education


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 12:38 a.m.

Epengar- I'm not a business major, but my understanding is a non profit is supposed to give the profits back to the corporation. In the case of public schools, I don't see the profits going to the students. This is what I would expect from a non profit. On the other hand. The for profit charter schools do give the profits to the students by offering them a 21st century curriculum and education.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 10 p.m.

wow, you don't even understand the difference between a non--profit charter school and one run by a corporation for profit? Can you understand how those two might have different goals?


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 7:09 p.m.

Well said.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:34 p.m.

Finally a voice of reason and sanity in Lansing. Go Rebekah and thank you!


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:26 p.m.

There is finally a model that puts the heat on public schools, whether it comes from for-profit or not-for-profit, and someone like this comes along to try to ensure the &quot;status quo&quot;. I don't care who makes money, as long as there is option for kids where there public school doesn't do the job. The free-market is already working. Public schools improve or someone will else will come in and provide a better alternative. If there were no &quot;customers&quot;, there would be no charter schools.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:08 p.m.

Care to provide an example of the free-market at work here? I see school funding continue to drop like a stone (this impacts charters too). Why should delivering education be about &quot;making money?&quot; School districts and charter schools aren't turning out widgets.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.

Public education should never be a for profit business. Education is expensive and worth every penny of your tax dollars. The teacher with a four degree and usually a graduate degree needs to be paid a professional wage whether or not it is a union negoiated wage or a for profit business paying that wage. The teacher also needs the most updated technology and resources to help educate children. Schools also need to provide many differemt types of programs to meet the challenges of all children that attend public schools. Parents need to provide the enrichment activites that compliment what is learned in school. It takes all Americans to make sure we provide a solid education for all children-regardless of zip codes-to compete in a global economy. America can not compete with other countries because education is not valued as much as sports, video games, cable television. Imagine if kids could do math as quickly as they learn a new video game or spent as much time doing homework as watching television.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 8:53 p.m.

whooops....100% of revenue.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 8:53 p.m.

aareader...B.S. out of110% of revenue.....85% goes to personnel...unacceptable. 56 Billion in underfunded pensions because Democratic officials keep giving unions what they want when there's no money to sustain the giveaways....unacceptable. Your argument....unaccepted.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:33 p.m.

&quot; It takes all Americans to make sure we provide a solid education for all children-regardless of zip codes-to compete in a global economy.&quot; If she were adressing this issus I would back her 100%, but the problem is we have some very bad school districts that nobody can do a thing about because of the unions, and tenure. Yet she wants the poor kids to just take it


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:11 p.m.

Charter schools, for-profit or not, offer an alternative for families living in less-than-desirable school districts. And before you get on your high-horse about working to change the existing school district, I don't have the time and resources to do what I need to do for my own family, much less take on a project of that magnitude. If you don't want your kids to go to a charter school, don't send them to a charter school. But don't take away MY CHOICE. Just like public schools, there are good and bad charters, but don't over-generalize by saying all for-profit charter schools are bad!


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

Carole, that's true for any organization, public or private. Look at salaries for senior management at Target, or the dealership where you get your car repaired. Do you complain about their compensation and how that impacts the cost of services delivered to you or the goods you purchase from them? It's not about choice, IMO. Education is a right for ALL children, but that doesn't mean each family can say &quot;I want this for my child&quot; and somehow expect it to be delivered. People need to remember this notion of &quot;the greater good&quot; actually means something. Each child is important, but it's also important to remember we are all part of this community trying to educate our children.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 2:59 p.m.

It's all about choice -- and if parents wish to send them children to charter schools, so be it. Government needs to stay out of it. Public funding for student would be more readily available if with less administration expenses. Just loot at AAPS new superintendent -- $65K pay raise before even starting the position -- I have a major problem with that.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 2:17 a.m.

Holding kids back to help other kids is a ridiculous position


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 12:11 a.m.

Forever27 - Right now the Detroit Public Schools throw away 75 out of 100 students who start kindergarden. If charters can save even 1 of those students, profit or not, I am in favor of charters. Anyone who is not upset about the &quot;dropout&quot; rate in Detroit and some of the other large urban districts in the state does not really care about education.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 6:35 p.m.

this &quot;chance&quot; being offered is at the expense of all the other kids left behind at the &quot;bad school&quot; what about them? are we just going to cut them off and say &quot;see you at the drive through!&quot;?

David Briegel

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:05 p.m.

Senator Warren is correct of course. Why not a for profit fire dept, police dept, or military? There are many functions that must be assigned to govt. Good Govt! We don't need Enron or Goldman Sachs ruining our educational system or our lives any more than they already have!


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 8:21 p.m.

Mr Briegel - We have a for profit military in Iraq and Afganistan - they are run by companies that are doing &quot;security&quot;. Several areas have contract fire departments in the US. Same for prisons. Almost any service is now available on a for profit basis. When I was in the military, we routinely flew on military style transports that were run by for profit companies. Repair on ships underway (not just in port) was done by contractors - they were call &quot;tech reps&quot;.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 8:50 p.m.

We don't need Enron or Goldman Sachs ruining our educational system or our lives any more than they already have! The teachers unions have done a fine job of ruining our educational system so you are correct that we don't need Enron or Goldman Sachs.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:57 p.m.

Oh snap, good reply USRepublic. He did miss a few of his regular talking points.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:41 p.m.

Don't forget to blame Bush..... or maybe the Tea Party people.... Perhaps the failing of our public education system is Reagan's fault? Give me a break.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:02 p.m.

Another Democratic Politician bought and paid for by the MEA.


Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

Billy Bob, Yes I do think that Warren is &quot;in the union pocket&quot; and I'm a registered Dem. She's been getting free lunches from the union hired lobbying firm for years, they have her ear, they have her support and unions contribute heavily to her PAC. What amazes me is that you spew the same old union rhetoric and expect folks to take YOU seriously. She's &quot;bought and paid fo&quot;r by unions.


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 10:02 p.m.

Average Joe, I need to dig further into some analysis by a group that's opposed to the bill to uncap charter limits, but one point that stood out was financial transparency. Public schools have to post their budgets online - everything, salaries, expenses for pencils, etc. Charter schools that are managed/run by for-profit entities do not. A charter school does have to comply with financial transparency, to a point - if a school contracts with a for-profit firm to manage the school, the report from the charter school may simply list a line-item expense about fees paid to the for-profit company. There's no further information about how the public tax dollars were spent, what sort of profit was made by the firm, etc. That different in financial transparency bothers me. Here's the organization: Michigan Parents for Schools: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 2:03 a.m.

Billybob, if in your opinion it's unfair that &quot;that &quot;choice&quot; is not extended to everyone in the &quot;bad&quot; school district&quot;, what we need to do is the exact opposite of Rep. Warren's proposed amendment and open as many charter schools as needed to let ALL students attend the school preferred by them and their parents.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 10:07 p.m.

Sorry, Average, but the the teachers *are* the MEA. Do you really think they aren't? When you take a cheap shot at the MEA, you are taking one at the teachers.

average joe

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 9:46 p.m.

@ Billy Bob- Cheap shots at the Senator &amp; Teachers? Warren doesn't offer any facts such as stats to back up her claims about charters. I call her protectionism on behalf of the MEA a cheap shot at the charters. And this isn't about the teachers either, only the MEA who Warren is representing.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

I thought charters were also a lottery system if too many apply, thus giving everyone the same opportunity----hey, it's as fair as Community!

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 6:44 p.m.

It's not a simple-minded comment. Rebekah is the Democratic leader in accepting money from lobbyists. She is in a district where she doesn't have to worry about elections, and she is bought and paid for.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 6:34 p.m.

@cinnibar, that &quot;choice&quot; is not extended to everyone in the &quot;bad&quot; school district. Education is supposed to be the Great Equalizer. that's why we have public education in the first place. You can't provide opportunities to one group of kids and not another


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:18 p.m.

LOL @ Billy Bob's comment. So the people who live in bad school districts just have to take what they're given? Having a choice is good.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:10 p.m.

Why do republicans these days have to give such simple-minded comments about serious issues? Do you really believe that Senator Warren is the property of one organization, and makes her decisions accordingly? She represents a very pro-education constituency, and she is representing their views in proposing this amendment. I really don't get it. Do you folks really think your simple snipes mean anything? Why don't you address the amendment and support your comments with something other than a cheap shot at the Senator and the teachers of Michigan? You might convince someone to agree with you who doesn't already use the same cheap shots as comments on major issues.