Progress in Michigan

Michigan charter students are posting larger gains than the state average.

About Joanne


  1. While gratifying, I’d like to see these sorts of comparisons with the records of the kids previous to their attendance in charter school factored in.

    My suspicion is that far from “cherry-picking”, the charters are more likely to get the kids the district-based schools are failing leaving the district-schools with the kids who have fewer, rather then more, problems.

  2. I don’t know about other areas, but my daughter’s charter high school admitted 164 of the kids in the area out of 800 plus applicants. Out of 12 kids from her grade school that applied, four got in. If that’s not “cherry-picking”, I don’t know what is.

    There is no way to create a comparison in achievement for these kids based on previous records. There are two entirely different educational processes going on here. The old way is based on making sure the kids are average (as in a C average.) The Charter school is giving vastly greater opportunities and teaching to much higher standards. No class my daughter takes in her charter high school is lower than an Advanced Placement class in any local school.

    As for opportunities, my daughter just wrapped up her Junior year in high school has received her COLLEGE elective grades. She earned a B in Art and an A in Meteorology. That is from a California State College, not a Junior College. She received an A+ in her elective language, Japanese. And no, we’re not Asian. She has a mix of A’s and B’s in her core high school classes. Those B’s would be very easy A’s in our local school system, if they even offered the classes.

    Had my daughter gone to our home high school she would have been able to take “gang-banging 101” and “bone-head burger-flipping”. The charter, even with its faults (and there are many), is way better than any other public school in the districts they draw students from.

    If charters appear to be doing poorly, it’s because they have higher standards than the public schools.


  3. Unless you’ve got some other data all you’re doing is generalizing from a single case.

    In the case of charters that’s especially pointless because charters vary so wildly. Some are AP academies but many aren’t and several in the area I’m familiar with are aimed at kids who have problems. The kind of kids the district-based schools are especially ill-suited to deal with.

    I don’t think I want to go where the metaphor leads but these schools definitely aren’t picking cherries.

    If charters appear to be doing poorly, it’s because they have higher standards than the public schools.

    The flip side of that is that if charters appear to be doing poorly it’s because they start with kids who’re in trouble before they walk through the door.

  4. Stephen D says:

    I echo allen’s comments. Rules for charters vary greatly from state to state and even district to district. Here in Oklahoma charter schools are prohibited from restricting admission based upon academic performance. My son’s school takes all applicants and if there are more than enough slots they select by lottery. Despite this the charter schools in Okla City generally outperform most of the non-charter schools here.