WMU charter schools expert to take part in debate to air on public radio

Contact: Mark Schwerin
Photo of Gary Miron.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A Western Michigan University researcher and charter schools expert will take part in a live debate in New York that will be aired on public radio stations across the nation.

Dr. Gary Miron, professor of educational leadership, research and technology, will participate in the debate Wednesday, March 1, at the Kaufman Center in New York City. The nationally broadcast debate, sponsored by Intelligence Squared U.S., will be podcast and an edited version will be distributed to over 220 public radio stations nationwide. It also will be videotaped and posted on YouTube, as well as be live streamed beginning at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday.

One of four experts

Miron will be one of four panelists on both sides of the debate, who will discuss the rapidly growing charter school movement and whether that movement has lived up to its promise. Other panelists include Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig, a professor of educational leadership and policy studies and director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership at California State University, Sacramento; Dr. Jeanne Allen, founder and CEO of The Center for Education Reform; and Gerard Robinson, a resident fellow at American Enterprise Institute and former Florida commissioner of education.

In the 25 years since Minnesota passed the first charter school law, charter schools, publicly funded but privately operated schools, have become a highly sought-after alternative to traditional public schools, particularly for underserved students in urban areas. Between 2004 and 2014, charter school enrollment increased from less than 1 million to 2.5 million students.

Many charters have achieved high test scores, strict academic expectations and strong graduation rates. But others have fewer regulations and less oversight and a lack of accountability, while taking much-needed resources from traditional public schools, and picking and choosing their student body.

Debaters will offer their opinions on the charter school movement and whether charter schools are overrated.

Gary Miron

Miron has extensive experience evaluating school reforms and education policies across the United States and Europe. He has directed more than 60 evaluations and research studies that have been funded with grants and contracts from state, federal and international agencies as well as private foundations. State education agencies have hired Miron to undertake nine comprehensive evaluations of charter school reforms. He also led a study for the U.S. Department of Education on the correlates of success in American charter schools.

Miron has provided technical assistance and training for charter schools in five states. In recent years, his research has focused on the private education management organizations as well as the performance of virtual and blended learning schools.

About IQ2US

IQ2US is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 2006 to restore civility, reasoned analysis and constructive public discourse to today's often biased media landscape. The award-winning debate series reaches over 30 million American households through multi-platform distribution, including radio, television, live streaming, podcasts, interactive digital content, and on-demand apps on Roku and Apple TV. With over 120 debates and counting, Intelligence Squared U.S. has encouraged the public to "think twice" on a wide range of provocative topics. Author and ABC News correspondent John Donvan has moderated IQ2US since 2008. The executive producer is Dana Wolfe.

For more information or live streaming go to intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/charter-schools-are-overrated.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.