Highland Park is the second Michigan school district taken over by Emergency Manager intent on turning it into a charter school district. It joins Muskegon Heights in a dangerous precedent-setting move of selling off its staff, students, and buildings to the lowest bidder.
Highland Park schools Emergency Manager Joyce Parker has decided that turning the school district over to a charter school management company is the only way the district can open its doors in the fall for students and eliminate its $11.3 million deficit. Parker hopes to have a management company in place by mid-July.
In Muskegon Heights, the Leona Group and Mosaica Education submitted bids to take over the school district and the “winning” bid will be announced soon. Neither company has an outstanding record when it comes to student achievement. Students fared no better in their charter schools than those in traditional public schools.
Whether the repeal of PA 4—the Emergency Manager law—will be on the November ballot is still in question. Right now, it’s the best way to fight off this attack on public education, public school employees and communities. The Republican-led Legislature has created a perfect storm for public education—make more cuts to education, increase the number of charter schools, appoint Emergency Managers to take over financially-strapped districts—and public education is no more.