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Michigan Charters Seen to Draw Private School Students

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Michigan’s charter schools are drawing a sizable percentage of students from private schools, a study concludes.

Charter schools are public schools allowed to operate free of district rules provided that they can show improvements in student achievement. Most studies to date, though, have examined how charters affect other public schools. To track their impact on private schools, researchers focused on Michigan because it was among the first states to permit charter schools, says the study by the National Center for Privatization in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

In particular, the study examined charter school enrollment between 1994-95 and 1998-99, a period in which the number of charter schools grew from eight to 138. Over that period, the researchers found, 17 percent of the students enrolled in charter schools had previously attended private schools

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