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Posted on Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

By the numbers: Washtenaw County charter schools boost enrollment by more than 28 percent

By Katrease Stafford


South Pointe Scholars Charter Academy in Ypsilanti received 1,275 applications for its first school year.

Angela Cesere |

Related story: Count Day 2012: Schools poised to make each student count

Early enrollment figures show an increase of more than 28 percent in the number of students attending Washtenaw County charter schools compared to last year.

The numbers, collected in advance of the state's official fall student count day on Wednesday, show charter schools in eastern Washtenaw County posting the biggest gains. In 2011, 3,900 students were enrolled in charter schools across the county, and that number increased to at least 5,003 for the 2012 school year.

The actual number enrolled is likely higher because one charter school, which opened this fall, declined to provide enrollment figures.

Enrollment is important because publicly funded charter schools get about $7,000 from the state per student enrolled. The state uses a formula that combines counts collected in the fall with those collected last spring to determine how much money each school gets.

One new school, South Point Scholars Charter Academy in Ypsilanti, has enrolled 571 students, school officials said. The school, which opened this fall, received 1,275 applications, school officials said previously. The academy turned away 670 applicants who were subsequently placed on a waiting list.

Among the biggest gainers was Arbor Preparatory High School in Ypsilanti Township, which in its second year of existence has grown from 161 students to 369 students, a 129 percent increase, preliminary figures show.

Part of the growth came from adding an 11th grade class this year. Last year, the school opened with only ninth and 10th grades.

But most of the growth occurred in the school's freshman class. Last year, the school had 130 freshmen enrolled. That number increased to 245 this year, said Principal Matt Hudson.

Another large uptick occurred at East Arbor Charter Academy also in Ypsilanti Township. Enrollment there increased 42.7 percent from 482 to 688 students.

Both South Pointe Scholars and East Arbor are managed by National Heritage Academies, a for-profit charter operator that also runs South Arbor and Fortis academies in Washtenaw County. National Heritage runs more than 40 schools in Michigan, and also operates in seven other states.


Katrease Stafford |

Hudson said his school is continuing to expand because of the number of of K-8 charter schools in the area. Two new charter schools opened this fall, bringing the total number of schools to 12 in the county.

"It was a huge outcry for students to continue their education at a charter school," Hudson said. "There are a lot of K-8 charter schools in the area ... . We're filling a need."

Besides Arbor Prep, only Washtenaw Technical Middle College and Eastern Washtenaw Multicultural Academy offer high school education among charter schools in Washtenaw County.

Buddy Moorehouse, vice president of communications for the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, said the trend of parents seeking out charter schools is not only occurring in Washtenaw County but across the state as well.

Moorehouse said 30 new charter schools across the state opened this fall, bringing the overall total to 275.

“About 116,000 students were in charter schools last year and that number will be higher,” Moorehouse said. “It’ll be up over 120,000 students in the state. We are seeing the patterns stay steady and we’re seeing a lot more kids in charter schools. ... Almost 60 percent of the charters in the state have waiting lists.”

Ypsilanti Township resident Christine Blossom enrolled her daughter, a ninth grader, at Arbor Preparatory after previously having her enrolled in the Lincoln School District.

"The program there is amazing," Blossom said. "They really do focus on getting kids to college and one of the graduation requirements is that you must be accepted into a four-year college. For us it was no brainer. She really likes it there."


South Pointe Scholars principal Nancy Kouba, left, and groups of teachers participate in a team-building exercise. South Pointe is one of 12 charter schools in the county.

Angela Cesere |

Seven of the 12 charter schools in Washtenaw County are located in Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township, providing competition for the nearby school districts of Ypsilanti, Willow Run and Lincoln.

South Pointe Principal Nancy Kouba said about 30 percent of the school's students live in the Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts, which, if voters approve in November, plan to merge and operate as one district next school year.

But Moorehouse said despite the increased enrollment in charter schools, many parents are still choosing to enroll their children in the traditional public school districts in the area.

"There are many parents still deciding that Ypsilanti and Willow Run are still the best choices," he said. It's not clear whether or how consolidation of the districts might affect those decisions, he said.

Bert Emerson, director of finance and operations for Willow Run, said Sept. 20 data shows the district has lost 119 students. Emerson said the district has 1,390 students enrolled this year compared to 1,509 last year. If the district loses those students, it will lose $869,890 in revenue from the state. The district receives $7,310 per student.

Ypsilanti Public Schools Superintendent Dedrick Martin said he expects his district to have a decrease in students as well, though the number of students enrolled has been increasing since the first day of school this year.


From left, WISD Superintendent Scott Menzel, Willow Run Superintendent Laura Lisiscki and Ypsilanti Superintendent Dedrick Martin announced plans March 20 to pursue consolidation.

Danielle Arndt |

"The first day of school we were almost down a thousand, and by the end of that week we were down 500," Martin said. "Two weeks later we were down 353 students. While that sounds very strange, from my experience here, that has been a persistent troubling problem. We continue to see big shifts in the numbers as the weeks go by."

YPS receives $7,513 per pupil from the state and a drop of 353 students would result in a revenue loss of $2.6 million. Martin said while he won't be sure of the number until the after the official count is taken Wednesday, any loss of revenue will hurt the district.

"At this point any loss of revenue is going to be a problem as we move toward the issue of consolidation," he said. "We expect that we will probably have a loss of revenue and it has been a downward trend over the last nine years in Ypsilanti."

Martin said any time a charter school opens in the area, it has an effect on all of the surrounding districts. However, he said the severity of impact is still unknown.

"The community and the state, we're not having a huge population increase so it's just shifting kids from one place (to another)," Martin said. "As far as the exact impact, it's too early to tell. Up until the final count, we will continue to see a migration or trickle of kids coming in because they were at a charter school that didn't work or a number of reasons."

Martin said he is hopeful that soon Ypsilanti schools will be in position to not only provide students with a better education but to grow their enrollment again — much like the district's neighboring charter schools.

"Right now there are a lot of questions or concerns in the area just because we’re considering consolidation."

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 1:12 a.m.

Napalm Morning " Come on! ! we want some investigative journalism on why an upper peninsula community college is sponsoring a Charter in Ypsilanti." If you are referring to Bay Mills Community College, I share your doubt. BMCC has less than 400 students (including their online students) yet they sponsor over 40 charter schools in Michigan. Are they a college or just a sponsor of charter schools?

Tony Livingston

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 11:04 p.m.

Actually, a lot of people with kids who qualify for special education services choose charter or private schools. They want a smaller environment because of ostracism and bullying. On another note, qualifying for special education does not necessarily mean low meap scores. Speech impairments, AAD, autism, dyslexia, social issues, emotional issues, all of these come under special ed and may or may not cause poor test scores.

Bruce Geffen

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

Yep - and right after count day when the checks are issued, these academies will start reducing their student rolls. It happens around here all the time. They ditch the lower performing students between count day and MEAPS. Then they keep all but 20% of the per pupil funding awarded. Basically - they are getting paid 80% of per pupil funding for NOT teaching kids, while our public schools get the other 20% to compensate them for taking in the poor kid that got bounced out of the charter and actually teaching that child. What a racket. We need the parents of the students bounced out of these charters to start standing up and telling their stories loudly.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

I have closely tracked the students who have entered my AAPS students' classes during the year, and in the 31 class-years so far, I know of exactly ONE case where a student originally enrolled in a charter school, then re-entered the public school system after the count day. The reason? A change in the family's economic circumstances forced the mother to return to the workforce, and she could no longer provide her child with the necessary transportation. That was a switch that happened in February. Oh by the way, the MEAP testing period starts on October 9th. That's less than a week after the count, and students who were at a school for count day are counted at that school for the state grading.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

Yes, I would like proof of this claim as well. Maybe can find some of these families.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

If you take a school that is k-6 and add a 7th grade of coarse you are going to show enrollment growth. Also charter schools to not offer equal education for those who require special education. Not to mention they do not pay their teachers what they are worth, so turn over rate is very high. I love the public school that my kids go to, and they are getting a great education by great teachers!


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

I understand about the kids who can not keep up with the classes at a charter school being ask to drop out, but is it fair for kids who can perform about average to be stuck at a public school at a lower level?


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 10:01 p.m.

Judy, there is no evidence that any charter school asked any student to drop out, or even discouraged them from enrolling in the first place. I have attended several IEP meetings at charter schools with friends and parents in my Scout group who have special-needs children. Those children, and my own twice-exceptional children children have not been discouraged from attending their charter schools. Your "about average" depends on where you are, and who you are including in the average. Average / at grade level for Michigan is one or two YEARS behind Massachusetts. And maybe a year ahead of Mississippi. The average in Ann Arbor is higher than in Willow Run, though maybe not as high as in Dexter.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

If we take ypsilanti getting $7,500 per kid. Thats $3.3 million dollars to operate ONE elementary school. If you assume teachers wages and benifts at $77,000 ( which is probably a high guess) you still end up with $2 million dollars to run one elementary. What is happening to all this money?? Is it administrative salary and benefits? We need to stream line the schools.


Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.

2 MILLION DOLLARS to heat and fix the school per year??????


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

I'm guessing they need to fix and heat the school from time to time.

Meredith Schindler

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:57 p.m.

If a condition of graduation is acceptance to a four year college, how is that a public school (which charters are supposed to be)? Although a four year college is an excellent goal, it's not for everyone, not to mention that many students do best when starting at a community college. Charter schools are not good with special education, by and large, either. They have to pay for the service providers from their own budget, so those students are seen as a drain on the system. When people pay for a private school, they are clear as to what they are receiving for their money, and they're making a choice that's important to them, but when we view charter schools as a reasonable form of school choice, we lose the concept of public education. It's a gift to be able to send children to school with other children from all walks of life, and while not every school works for every student, private schools have always offered a choice (and most have extensive financial aid available). To pretend that charter schools are actually public schools in any way is to fool ourselves and is a disservice to our children.

Tony Livingston

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 10:58 p.m.

Special Education services in private schools are provided by the local school district. They can do more if they want. For instance, if you live in the Ann Arobr school district and have a child at Rudolph Steiner, they will receive AAPS special education services.

Basic Bob

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.

Other children from all walks of life.... I agree, and you will find more diversity in any of the charters than Saline, Dexter, or the pure white middle class school I attended as a child. Do you consider them public schools?

Linda Peck

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

I like this trend because it reflects the growing desire of and response to parents and children to enjoy choices in education. Just like any monopoly on a product, the product of public education has suffered in the past decades, and now this is turning around. Thanks to vangard private schools in the area such as Rudolf Steiner and Clonlara, the public is more aware of the possibilities and wants to have choices.

Top Cat

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

It's called parents voting with their feet to get a better education for their children. This genie is out of the bottle and the unions are not going to put it back in.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

You are right, Top Cat. There is no law, or any union, that can keep parents from striving to do what is best for their own child's education. And that is exactly what it comes down to. Taking care of your own child.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

School choice is so basic to being an immigrant to the USA. "Why people came here from Europe or someplace else. They came for freedom to own land. They came for freedom TO SETUP SCHOOLS. They came for freedom to read and write. And they came for freedom from the draft." Quote from RADM Grace Hopper's 3rd Retirement Speech from Federal Service. Her famous saying: "It's easier to ask forgiveness than to get permission."


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

A young relative of mine in a charter school is being counseled to find a different school because he is struggling academically and they don't their test scores to look bad. (Official language about "fit with the school"). This, I believe, is typical of charter schools. Charter schools may have to take everyone, by law, but they don't have to keep everyone. They are creating a divided world -- orderly schools for advantaged kids, chaotic schools with higher concentrations of disciplinary and academic problems for everyone else.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

The problem as I see it is "us" who are making commits are concerned about kids and there education. But not all parents care about there childrens education. I have a friend who is a social worker at a Washtenaw county public school, (not in A2 or Ypsilanti) who had a parent who's child was not doing well academically, she was going to Alabama to visit family for 2 weeks and "No, one was going to tell her what she could or could not do whit her kid." The 2 week visit was in March of last year.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

This loosely veiled selectivity is rampant in the Charters. Virtually any staff member in the Publics will tell of a problem, challenged, or ESL student that was "encouraged" out of a Charter and summarily "dumped on the doorstep" of a Public. It is a travesty that our tax dollars are conveyed to "for-profit" Charter entities that pick and choose whom they deem worthy of their attention. Come on! ! we want some investigative journalism on why an upper peninsula community college is sponsoring a Charter in Ypsilanti.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:21 p.m.

You believe it's typical because it is happening to one of your relatives? Also, public schools may not have the luxury of kicking students out, but they have the luxury of making it VERY difficult for parents to get extra help/parapro's etc... They have changed the language on IEP's to the point where many parents need to seek legal representation to get what is best for their child.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

Same thing with my stepson except they did that at a meeting before he ever enrolled. Whatever makes the schools look good. Could you imagine a public school treating kids that way? The outcry that would come about.... rightfully so! Your grades aren't good enough - sorry.. you have to go somewhere else. Just not fair for the kids. Public schools don't have that luxury. They have to teach all the kids and can't just kick them out because their scores aren't good enough or they don't "fit with the school".


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

It is called "choice".....just like parochial schools


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

$7K per student and mine can't get a textbook. Teachers have a contract that permits nearly 8% unexcused absences, but my kid doesn't have a textbook.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

8% on top of school-year vacations, summers and holidays. Find me a job that doesn't rely on tax-payer dollars that get that much and I'll go work there.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

Teachers are employees and get time off like any other employee.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

Makes plenty of sense. Plenty of money to pay people for not working vs. no money for providing books to kids in the classroom. Gee, I wonder what's more important. See the point now?

Ghost of Tom Joad

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 3:38 p.m.

based off of this comment, it looks as though you're blaming the fact that students are unable to obtain proper reading materials because teachers get paid time off? that makes absolutely no sense at all.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.

Yep. As parents we have to "know what's expected" when we are checking or helping with homework. Without being in class or having something to reference, we are at a disadvantage. It's been along time since I've been in school, so it isn't like I just "automatically know" all of this stuff without brushing up.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:16 p.m.

Agree. I can't stand the online science reading either, (carolina curriculum). Some kids need an actual book in their hands to understand what they are reading. Printing 300 some pages is out of the question, especially with all the useless graphics.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

I can't wait to see the results of all of the charter school students MEAP tests, not just a "select" few students! It should be interesting to see. Previous data has shown that charter school students do not perform as well as other public school students. If this trend continues, I can't see ever sending my daughter to a charter school; I want her to get the best education possible, and so far the charter "for profit" schools have not shown very good results. When I examined the curriculum of the so called charter high schools, they are sorely lacking in content. Should be interesting to see what happens in 2/3 years to the MEAP results.

Ghost of Tom Joad

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.

it's easy to get good results when you cherry-pick your student body. Public schools are forced to educate EVERYONE regardless of who they are, or how well they "perform"


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

Lots of comments by teachers say the test is worthless, doesn't really measure anything, takes time away from "real teaching" vs "teaching to the test". Personally, I wouldn't base school selection on MEAP scores alone...


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:13 p.m.

Biowheels - The studies I've seen say that charters usually slightly out-perform the public school districts from which their student population was drawn and that student scores improve more with each year a student spends in the charter school. This isn't universally true, and one Washtenaw County charter was closed by it's sponsor last year, for poor academic performance. I don't know which charter high school curricula you looked at, but WTMC which is the only charter high school that is not new this year, has a very broad and deep curriculum indeed, since it requires students to get an AA or 2 year certificate at WCC as well as their high-school specifc credits. And I would gladly take the curriculum of any National Heritage Academy high school over the multi-culti-politically correct mess that is provided in Ann Arbor's comprehensive high schools.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 12:34 p.m.

Public school count day results will tell the rest of the tale, but there is a cautionary tone to this for the traditional public schools. Families choose schools based on the same cost-benefit or advantage/disadvantage basis that they use to make lots of other decisions, and for whatever reason(s), families are deciding that a) they are unhappy enough with their districted schools to actually look for alternatives, and b) that the inconvenience of making a change (or driving to and from every day, rather than having a bus pick up at the corner) is worth it -- the charters are 'better' by a large enough margin of whatever perceived advantage they hold to make the switch. What are enrollment trends in other private and parochial schools, where the additional burden of an actual tuition payment speak to an even more specific rejection of the public school alternative? What leads parents to make the choices? In what ways are the area public schools failing to pass muster?


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

brimble, you have a great point. My husband drove school bus for a public school last year this year he is driving for a private school in Ann Arbor for sports and field trips, the first time he drove he came home and said, "You now what happened?" I said, "No, what." He said, 2/3 of the kids thanked him for driving the bus. Last year driving for the public school not one kid thanked him.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

What lead my wife and I to put our kids into Catholic School was not just a religous choice. It was mainly because the teachers and administrative staff at our school (St. Thomas) is so much more supportive and intereactive with us as parents. I'll never forget when my older son was at Tappan and I had a question for one of his teacher after school. It was about 3:30pm and I was stating my concern to the teacher and she was so dismissive telling me "... I have to go home and feed my dogs!" WHAT??? We were talking about my kid here!! I felt she should have been fired right then! (But,that would have benn impossible. He union would make sure of that) From that point on, I knew the public school system was not for us. We don't get that kind of treatment at a Catholic school. At our, we may be strongly "encouraged" to participate in the education process, but, hey, we want to be involved! They (teachers and admin staff) are always there when we call, email, etc. and return our calls/emails immediately AND if (or should I say when) our son gets in trouble, we get a call or email immediately. It is really is like being apart of a family there. We (parents, staff and kids) all interact with each other; socially, educationally and do a lot of extra-curricular activities together. But, probably the biggest reason is... NO POLITICAL views are pushed on them and political correctness is virtually non-existent... there is Right, there is Wrong and there are CONSEQUENCES. I was shocked at Huron HS how the kids talk to teachers, coachs and the lack of discipline (not to mention pride in their school) Now, I'm not saying Catholic schools are without problems and are for everybody; they're not. But what they do is, focus on the 4 'R's: Reading, wRiting, aRithmatic and Religion and they are not afraid to hand out consequences. There are some things a student SHOULD feel bad about. Something the public schools are severly lacking.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:41 p.m.

@Jane_doe - Based on what you have said in these two posts, it sounds like you might consider one of the religious-affiliated schools in the area -- St. Thomas, St. Francis (both Catholic) or St. Paul (Lutheran) -- as well. Interesting to hear your impression of each of the systems.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

To continue, I also did not like the attitudes of most of the teachers at AAPS. Most seemed snotty, entitled and treated the children as if they were a nuisance. Yet, this is also the district that we chose to live in because years ago we thought it was just the be all, end all of awesome school districts. AAPS really turned me off because of their overall attitude, their rush to judgment, and misguided attempts assist their student. 5. Lincoln- I actually am considering sending my children to Lincoln because I liked it there so much. They were extremely welcoming, nice, and they just seemed happy to be there and happy to be teachers. They were very encouraging, supportive, and inclusive of ALL their students. I was also surprised at how diverse Lincoln is- much different from how it was when I was growing up. We chose an academy because it was close to home (AAPS wants to send my son to an elementary school 20 minutes away when there are 3 schools 10 minutes away- why?) We also liked the exposure of the older kids- 6th, 7th, and 8th grade- to the younger kids. It has helped alleviate the anxiety of moving into middle school, which I do not think many people remember fondly. The older kids are also very helpful and respectful to the younger kids, which I never saw that in any public school I was in because the older kids are kept separate from the younger kids. The academy also has their moral focus each month. Yes, it sounded cheesy to me at first, but it is obvious that it works. Every month, they have a focus- compassion, empathy, etc. It is incorporated into the daily lessons so that it is reiterated in many different aspects. Long winded, but that is why my son goes to a charter school!


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

My husband and I chose to send our son to a charter school for a variety of reasons, and mostly at my suggestion. Before we had children, we knew that we did not want them to attend either Ypsi or Willow Run. We are both grew up and graduated from the districts. I may sound condescending, but I do not want my children to grow up, develop, and mature in the kind of social environment that seems to permeate Ypsi and WR. For more context, I also was a substitute teacher for a year after graduating. Part of my inclination to be a substitute was to get some background knowledge into the potential schools that my son would be attending. This is what I found in a year of subbing in the surrounding districts: 1. Willow Run- great teachers and principals. The class sizes were very large, though. For example, I was assigned to a fourth grade room where there were 6 special needs students with only 1 parapro assigned to help them. By special needs, I mean autistic (not high functioning), severe ADHD, and behavioral problems. In other, more affluent districts (AAPS, Saline schools), students with similar issues are assigned a 1-on-1 parapro or are pulled out of class to work with a special ed teacher in another room. 2. Ypsi- generally okay. Most teachers were great, others just yelled at the kids. I found this pretty upsetting. The general feeling I got from every staff member in each school I was in was exasperation. The left hand never seemed to know what the right hand was doing. 3. Saline- Obviously Saline teachers were decent. However, as I think most outside of Saline know, it was very homogenous. For example, out a class of 30 students, the only one who was not Caucasian was a Hispanic girl. 4. AAPS- In their attempt to be inclusive of every student, they end up dividing them instead. It was frustrating to see, because I saw the good and the bad in it.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

Greenhills admissions were *way* up last year at all grade levels.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 12:19 p.m.

Arbor Prep sounds like a great place. My stepson went to the open house and was SO excited and wanted to go there. He met with the staff (I dont remember who specifically- someone on the special ed staff I beleive or a counselor) and they basically told him after talking to him and his mother that "this wasn't the place for him" after learning of his learning disabilities and his IEP. He left that meeting with feeling dejected and stupid because they told him he wasn't smart enough to be successful there. How do you tell a kid - you are stupid and not welcome in our school. You know what we told my stepson- prove that guy wrong. Do you really want to go to a school that will treat people like that? Do you want to go to a school where they can pick and choose to bump up their numbers and stats? That school gives you a laptop.. and requires AP courses... and just acceptance into a 4 year school... and free tutoring. But you know what - Lincoln has AP courses and free tutoring as well and can get you into a 4 year school as well... and offers SO much more than those rude people there. Not one person at Lincoln has ever told my stepson or my daughter that they are stupid and won't be successful.

Tony Livingston

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 10:45 p.m.

I hate to tell the people at Arbor Prep, but an awful lot of students with learning disabilities are very smart. Even gifted in some cases. Many have a lopsided profile, very good in certain areas and poor in others. But, with proper accomodations, they can often succeed in AP classes.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 9:22 p.m.

Not sure if this really is a "pick and choose" situation. It would depend on if they flat out refused to accept him at all or whether, based on the information garnered about graduation requirements, that it would be a challenge (but not an impossibility) for the kid to succeed in that high expectation environment. Which would be worse? Not being honest up front about the minimum requirements to succeed and having the kid and his family blame the school for being too hard - or - at least informing the family that it would be challenging for the student to feel successful? I have a hard time thinking anyone told this kid that he was "stupid" but that may be what was perceived because of some honest assessment. Should/could the school help out in this situation? Yes. But don't necessarily blame the administration if things don't work out because of whatever learning issues there may be with which to deal.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:36 p.m.

You're either a part of the problem, or a part of the solution [Eldridge Cleaver?] Enough handwringing! Get mad enough to demand our esteemed lawmakers change the law. If not, we get the (lack of)leadership we deserve.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:21 p.m.

DonBee - it happened. Its not fair... but life isn't fair I guess. All we could do was try to pick up his confidence and move on. He is having a great year this year so far. Channel that anger into a lesson learned and move on. I mentioned reporting them, but nothing ever came up about it. sHa - Life isnt fair and unforunately a lesson kids have to learn at some point. What can be done about it? Bring it to light - inform - and move forward with the lessons learned. Just doesn't seem right for a school to behave that way and squash kids enthuasism and confidence.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

Unfortunate situation for your stepson; however, most people are going to pick and choose whatever they can find that promises the best outcome for their OWN child. In the end, parents take care of what they need to do. Not too many people look at the whole picture, just what works for them individually. Yes, it is sad and not fair that charter schools seem to pick and choose, but not much anyone can do about.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

ypsi-gypsi- If this really happened, and I don't doubt you, then you need to report it to the state board of education. This is a violation of charter requirements and should get the charter reviewed and maybe pulled from the school. This is flatly against the law. I look forward to reading the official proceeding on the State Board of Education website.

Basic Bob

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

Martin is correct in his belief that a better education will lead to greater enrollment. The poorer education and inability of the schools to make improvements is the entire reason most people left. It will take some time for parents to change their perception of the Ypsilanti and Willow Run schools. I wish them the best.

Ghost of Tom Joad

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

imagine if we would simply be willing to invest in our public schools, that way we wouldn't have over crowding in the first place, and EVERY student would get an opportunity to have a decent education - not just the lottery winners.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 12:05 p.m.

My daughter attended Honey Creek charter school years ago, charter schools allow more control for parents and more contact with teachers. The class size back then (12 years ago and only K-6th) was 15 students. The big difference I saw between Honey Creek and the puplic school was parents were not allowed to use the school for baby sitting. What I saw was to be in a Charter school parents "must" be actively involved in the child/childrens schooling. For use Honey Creek was were my daughter and I had time together before and after school. Why? Because I had to driver her to school and pick her up, not only was it time for use to talk and be togehter I had a chance to talk to her teachers "everyday."


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

One of the reasons we did charter as well. In hi school we are exploring on line options because the homework the teachers are handing out is unheard of. On line is more paced. As mom and daughter time? I do miss that one as well. Enjoy that memory.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 11:27 a.m.

I'm curious if the much larger class sizes in our public schools are causing this trend. Could you list average class size in regular public vs. charter schools?


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 3:54 p.m.

I am guessing location as well. Many of these schools are located in Ypsilanti and parents seem to be leaving Ypsi and Willow Run schools quickly.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

We do AALC. The class size for the K/1 averages to about 15 students. My child's class has 10.