If you follow this blog, you know that I’ve been keeping my eye on the charter school known as Taylor Preparatory Academy. The Treasurer of their Board of Directors was Audrey Spalding, who was also the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s Education Director. Spalding was the treasurer from the school’s inception in 2013 until August when she stepped down from the Board and the Mackinac Center in order to relocate out of state. With all the anti-public school rhetoric that the Mackinac Center put out under her leadership, one would assume that her own charter school would be a shining example of their alternative to traditional public schools. The data tells a different story.
This week the state released the results of Michigan’s new standardized test known as the M-Step. The M-Step was taken last spring. The test is a disaster, but that is for another story. The story here is that Taylor Preparatory Academy only had one student, 7% of the test takers, pass the M-Step 11th grade math portion. Meanwhile, the state average was 28%. The Taylor Prep students performed well below the state average in all four areas of the test.
Spalding’s work at the Mackinac Center made the state’s public school children worse off. She vilified public school teachers while advocating for the expansion of for-profit charter schools. Everyone, including the Mackinac Center, knows that the biggest risk factor for poor performance in school is poverty. Yet, Spalding and the Mackinac Center advocated for policies that pay teachers and support staff less, who usually live in the community, in order to send profits outside those communities. Besides, charter schools perform no better than traditional public schools.
Even though Spalding has moved on, the Mackinac Center will continue to churn out propaganda under their new Education Director Ben DeGrow. Like Spalding, DeGrow has no formal training in education. He will have plenty of cash to spend on misinformation thanks to secret contributions from people with ties with charter schools as well as the Dow Foundation.
Link: Sign the Petition to Tell the Dow Foundation to Stop Funding the Mackinac Center