WMU News

Charter schools focus of Issues in Education series

March 3, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- The place of charter schools on today's educational landscape will be the focus of a forum Tuesday, March 10, at Western Michigan University.

Four educators familiar with both charter and public schools will participate in a panel discussion titled "How Will Charter Schools and Public Schools Co-Exist?" at 7 p.m. at the McKee Alumni Center in Walwood Hall on the University's East Campus.

The forum is the third in an "Issues in Education" series sponsored this year by the WMU Alumni Association's Education Society. The forums are free and open to the public and are designed to provide discussion and information on pivotal topics in education.

The panelists will be: Dr. Herb Moyer, a member of the Michigan State Board of Education whose career as an educator spans 40 years; Dr. Joseph Kretovics, chairperson of the WMU Department of Education and Professional Development; Gretchen Andersen, director of the Heartwood Renaissance Academy, a charter school that will focus on the fine arts and is set to open near Centreville in July; and Richard Baumgartner, founder and former director of the Northside Preparatory School, a charter school in Kalamazoo and one of the first charter schools in the area.

The panelists are expected to discuss such issues as: whether charter schools are a serious threat to the viability and vitality of traditional public schools; to what degree charter and for-profit schools will compete with public schools; if charter schools will fill a "niche" market for those seeking specialized programs not found in traditional education; and whether there will be areas where charter and public schools can cooperate and share resources.

The forum moderator will be Steven Fryling, a member of the Education Society's board of directors and assistant principal at Mattawan Middle School.

The WMU Education Society consists of alumni from WMU's College of Education and is a chapter of the alumni association. The society aims to promote the improvement of education through discussing important issues, promoting legislation supportive of education and working with the College of Education to strengthen teacher training. The society also provides a way for alumni to interact with the College of Education.

For more information, call Karin F. Carl in the College of Education dean's office at (616) 387-2965.

Media contact: Ruth Stevens; ruth.stevens@wmich.edu

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