CMU to name Center for Charter Schools after former Michigan Gov. John Engler Monday
Former Michigan Gov. John Engler has put a lot of dedication and hard work into the Charter Schools movement. Next Monday, the Center for Charter Schools will repay that dedication by changing its name to include Engler’s name.
Central Michigan University’s Center for Charter Schools is holding a dedication ceremony and panel discussion from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the College of Education and Human Services in honor of the former governor.
Engler’s role in the charter school movement includes signing Michigan’s charter school legislation into law in 1994 and promoting and developing education reforms. Vice President for Developmental and External Relations Kathy Wilbur said this is the first time Engler has had anything in Michigan named after him, and she is very excited for the event.
“He was quite a motivating force. He’s part of the reason that we even have charter schools in Michigan,” Wilbur said. “I don’t think most people figured that the charter schools were to have grown and diversified as they have, except for the leadership he brought to this issue.”
Prior to the dedication, Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, will give the keynote address. Following him will be a roundtable discussion about Michigan’s charter school movement moderated by Detroit News Editorial Editor Nolen Finley. The six panelists for the roundtable discussion will include Dick Posthumus, senior adviser to Gov. Snyder, James Goenner, National Charter Schools Institute president and CEO, and Michigan Sen. Phil Pavlov of the Senate Education Committee.
In addition to Engler attending the ceremony, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Congressman Dave Camp are also expected to attend. Wilber said there might be other individuals such as Gov. Rick Snyder, but are still waiting final confirmation on their attendance.
“We’ve made a request (to Snyder’s office), and we’re still waiting,” Wilbur said.
According to a release from the CMU, the university was the first authorizer of charter schools in Michigan and the first university in the United States to charter its first three public schools in 1994. Wilbur said Central Michigan University is currently the largest authorizer in Michigan with 56 charters containing about 30,000 students.
“The relationship between the university and Engler goes back many years,” Wilbur said. “We’re very pleased that he would allow us to do this for such an appropriate cause.”
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