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Charter school advocate rips Detroit Free Press investigation

Off the Record

One of Michigan’s top charter school advocates is blasting the Detroit Free Press’ recent investigation into charters.

Reporter Jennifer Dixon and others uncovered incidents suggesting conflicts of interest, a lack of transparency, and mixed academic results in charters.

The head the state’s largest charter school advocacy group says the organization has always backed higher standards for accountability and transparency.

“There are standards for journalism as well,” said Dan Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA). “And that includes looking in a fair and balanced way, comprehensively, with all the information that was provided. Jennifer Dixon decided to put that standard aside.”

Quisenberry was speaking on the Michigan Public Television program Off the Record. He says most charter schools are giving families quality alternatives to traditional public schools.

He says, in some ways, charters actually face tougher accountability standards than traditional public schools.

“The reports this week have not stated those things,” he said. “In fact, in some cases said, ‘Well, we need an automatic closure provision.’ It’s already in law. We’re one of eleven states that have automatic closure provisions and we’re closing the schools.”

Free Press Editor and Publisher Paul Anger issued a response on Friday to Quisenberry’s comments.

“We always look at relevant and credible information and have done that throughout this process,” said Anger. “Our stories are thoroughly reported and vetted. We stand by them, all of them.”