Editor’s Note: Detroit charters add heft to diplomas

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

Two Detroit charter high schools are making it more difficult for their students to graduate. And that’s great news for the students who attend them. Detroit students have lagged the state in high school graduation rates and consequently college attendance, so efforts to address both are much needed.

Students at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and Consortium College Prep High School —which are run by American Promise Schools — will have to take at least one Advanced Placement course to graduate, starting with the class of 2017.

Michigan is below average in the number of students who take AP courses; the state ranks 29th. The number of rigorous courses students take in high school is a strong predictor of whether they decide to go to college — and how well they’ll do when they get there. And right now, 27 percent of Michigan college freshmen have to take at least one remedial, non-credit bearing course. That’s a waste of time and money for these students.

Starting with the 2016 class, students at the two charters will also have to get accepted to at least two post-secondary institutions. While this seems extreme, local school boards have the authority to establish their own graduation requirements, as long as they follow the Michigan Merit Curriculum.

These schools have the right idea — get kids exposed to college-level work, and then make sure they put their new skills to good use.