- Public university
- Community college
- K-12 local education agency
- Intermediate school district
Unique to Michigan is the ability of public universities to charter schools.
As an "Authorizer," Oakland University issues contracts that establish Public School Academies as public schools and enables them to receive state funding. Per-pupil state aid funds follow a child to a Public School Academy, which operates within the confines of a traditional school governance.
The contract establishes the framework within which the school operates and provides public support for a specified period. Each Academy maintains autonomy over its operations. In exchange for flexibility afforded by the contract, the schools are held accountable for achieving specific goals, including improving student performance and compliance with federal and state laws.
An authorizer is charged with oversight of the academies. An authorizer does not operate a school, but ensures that the school is being operated well by the school’s board of directors through its oversight activities.
Oakland University focuses on three areas of oversight:
- Governance - School Boards of Directors and Administrators
- Finance - School Budget, State Aid and Funding
- Education - Student Achievement and Curriculum
The Vision of OU/PSA is to advance excellence in public education through choice, accountability and responsible stewardship of the resources entrusted to us.
The mission of the OU/PSA is to support quality charter schools through leadership in educational initiatives at the national, state and local levels and to ensure accountability through effective performance evaluation.
OU chartered schools offer the diversity of options envisioned by the Oakland University Board of Trustees when it approved the Public School Academy Chartering Policy in 1995. The scope of policy did not include a specified number of schools. Our first school opened its doors to 100 students in 1996. By way of this modest entry into the chartering arena, OU joined other universities, intermediate school districts, community colleges and local school districts across the state in responding to the call for more educational choice. OU has grown over the years to charter eight schools with a total enrollment of over 6000 students.
The number of Michigan students who attend charter schools has grown from 12,047 students in 1996-97 to over 141,000 in 2013-14. The percentage of students in K-12 charter schools now stands at 9.3%. The charter school movement has served to increase the choices parents have in how and where to educate their children. Prior to the introduction of charter schools, children attended the geographically designated school assigned to them by their local district. If families were not satisfied with that option, they basically had two choices – send their child to a private school or move to another district. Charter schools have empowered parents by giving them a voice in the education of their child.
Charters have influenced parental choice within traditional school districts as well. The percentage of students utilizing inter-district choice options, living in one school district and attending school in another, has increased steadily since the introduction of charter schools. In 1996-97, the percentage of students attending schools of choice was 0.5% of all Michigan students. That percentage climbed to 4.9%, or 79,231 students, in 2008-09 as parents and educators began to see beyond the boundaries of their local school district and focus on providing increased opportunities for families.
The task of preparing the youth of today to be college or workforce-ready has made it crucial that K-12 schools deliver on their obligations to offer academic programs that reshape the focus of instruction and raise student achievement. With a resounding “yes,” Michigan parents have demonstrated that they want to have “choice” in deciding which schools their children attend.