Editor’s note: Charters shine on national report

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

Betsy DeVos, the U.S. education secretary, is no doubt thrilled with a new report showcasing the best public high schools in the country.

After all, teachers unions and other school choice detractors maligned DeVos following her nomination for her work in her home state of Michigan and the country to expand access to charter schools. Charters, these folks claimed, aren’t delivering better results.

U.S. News & World Report released its annual national high school rankings last week, and Michigan’s top three schools are charter schools. There are many more on the list of the state’s highest ranking schools. Just 245 of the state’s 1,097 public high schools qualified to make the list, which ranks schools based on their ability to prepare students for college and accounts for economically disadvantaged students.

This won’t surprise those who look beyond the anti-choice rhetoric and see for themselves the good work that many charters are doing in this state.

Wellspring Preparatory High School in Grand Rapids, Arbor Preparatory High School in Ypsilanti and Black River Public School in Holland landed the top three honors. Yet even the top Michigan school came in at No. 211 nationally, indicating how far the state must come to improve education.

Other charters that made the list include West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science and the West Michigan Aviation Academy, both located in Grand Rapids. It’s worth noting Dick and Betsy DeVos founded and have supported the Aviation Academy.

Similarly, four of the five best high schools in the U.S. are charter schools.

“These schools and thousands of other charters across the country continue to show what can be — and is being — accomplished through school choice and the opportunities and options that are available to families via charter schools,” stated Jeanne Allen, founder and CEO of the Center for Education Reform.

President Donald Trump should take these results into account as he seeks additional funding for school choice. Schools that are doing the best work deserve support, regardless of their governance.