Guide to Charter Schools in Detroit, Michigan

Many families have experienced major disruptions in their lifestyles over the past few years. Parents had to make time to guide and supervise their children who had to shift from face-to-face instruction to online classes and back to in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some parents are assessing other K-12 education options.

Finding the best school for your child is never easy. It's a task that requires extensive research and reflection. What makes finding a school for your kids even more difficult are the many choices available. Parents, after all, can choose to send their kids to an online school, neighborhood schools, private schools, or a public charter school.

What is a Tuition-Free Public Charter School in Michigan?

A tuition-free, public charter school is similar to a traditional public school as it also offers education to kids in pre-kindergarten to grade 12. Officially called public school academies (PSA) in Michigan, these schools are more commonly referred to as charter schools. 

Community members such as guardians, parents, and teachers can petition for a new charter school to be opened. It is the governing board of a public body like the local school district, college or university that is authorized to issue charter contracts pursuant to Michigan law

Another similarity shared by charter schools with traditional public schools is the source of funding. Both schools, after all, are funded by the state. However, these two school types differ in their administration and management since charter schools have more control over these aspects. Charter schools enjoy more flexibility in how they run their schools such as in areas of hiring and curriculum management.

Elected school boards, and school districts and their board-appointed superintendents oversee traditional public schools whereas charter schools are managed by an entity under the supervision of their self-appointed board. This means charter schools have more independence than usual public schools, allowing them to make their own rules and innovate.

What Tuition-Free Public Charter Schools are Available for Children in Detroit, Michigan?

Check out Dr. Joseph F. Pollack Academic Center for Excellence (PACE Academy), an outstanding student-centered elementary school with an optimistic and positive culture. We have high expectations for our K-8 elementary scholars both in their academic and social-emotional growth. We focus on character education and rigorous academics in elementary school as we prepare students for high school and beyond. We promise to educate every student for a college degree and a life of ethical leadership from the moment they enter our doors.

Classes at PACE Academy have an average student to teacher ratio of 18:1 allowing us to directly support each of our students. We prioritize meeting the individual needs of each and every student. We also strive for a personalized connection with each of our students and their families. We have a team of counselors, paraprofessionals, behavioral interventionists, social workers and support specialists all working for our scholars’ success. 

Are There Other Tuition-Free and Public Charter Schools Available in Detroit, Michigan?

You can choose to apply and enroll your children in a tuition-free, public charter school even if it is outside your school district. Detroit charter schools are not part of a specific school district. Thus, parents in Detroit can opt for the charter school of their choice and not worry about breaking district rules. The Michigan School of Choice program states that charter schools can admit any child residing in the state if their capacity allows it.

What is the Process of Enrolling my Child in a Tuition-Free Public Charter School in Detroit, Michigan? 

The enrollment process of charter schools is highly similar to other school types. They require an application where parents have to provide information about the child such as name, address, birth date, ethnic background, and the last school attended.

It is your responsibility to check the charter schools’ application and enrollment deadlines along with the school's specific enrollment rules, policies, and requirements. Charter schools may have different rules and processes but all of their admission rules must comply with state laws. According to Michigan laws, charter schools cannot implement policies that unlawfully discriminate against their applicants. 

You should also remember that there is a high possibility of seeing your child's name on the school's waitlist especially if you applied to a sought-after charter school. Many charter schools receive more applications than their capacities allow. Schools that have more applicants than they can take in usually employ a random selection process. The lottery system is a commonly used selection technique by many charter schools.

Do Public Charter Schools Offer High-Quality Education in Detroit, Michigan?

It's normal for parents to wonder whether public charter schools offer high-quality education.

If you are one of those parents who remain unsure about the quality of charter schools in the Detroit area, then you should know that studies have shown that charter school students have improved access to quality learning opportunities.  Here are some figures proving the high-quality education provided by Detroit charter schools.

  • Just 12.3 percent of DPSCD students in grades 3-8 earned a proficient rating on the 2017 M-Step reading test, compared to 23.6 percent of charter students. The statewide average was 47.3 percent.
  • Eight percent of traditional public school students in grades 3-8 were proficient in math, compared to 13.5 percent of those attending charters. The statewide average was 37.2 percent.
  • When it comes to critical third-grade reading achievement, 9.8 percent of DPSCD students were proficient, compared to 21.3 percent of charter students and 46 percent of students statewide.

About PACE Academy 

Dr. Joseph F. Pollack Academic Center for Excellence (PACE Academy) is a tuition-free public charter school serving kindergarten through eighth graders in Southfield, Michigan. At PACE Academy, we empower our scholars to realize their fullest potential through meaningful educational opportunities. We partner with our families and community in preparing our scholars to become dynamic leaders in the 21st century by celebrating the importance of collaboration and accountability in all we do. Join our growing school, enroll today!