News Story

Of Michigan’s 100 Best Public Elementary And Middle Schools, 30 Are Charters

This gubernatorial candidate would shut many down for hiring a professional management company

Some of the top-ranked public schools in the state would be shut down if one of the candidates running to be Michigan’s next governor gets his way.

Shri Thanedar is one of four individuals seeking to be the Democratic Party candidate for governor. Thanedar made news recently when he stated on Twitter and at a town hall in Ann Arbor that he would shut down for-profit charter schools, according to Bridge Magazine.

“Shri believes in all public schools — including traditional and nonprofit charters,” said Rachel Felice, spokesman for Thanedar. “However, he will use every tool at his disposal to remove the profit motivation for companies who would take advantage of our public school system out of Michigan’s education equation.”

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy released its new report card for elementary and middle schools on Feb. 22. To improve the validity of school-to-school comparisons, its report card adjusts for the socioeconomic background of a school’s student body when evaluating its academic performance.

Of the top 100 public elementary/middle schools statewide with the overall highest academic performance on the report card, 30 were charter schools. Many of those charters contract with for-profit education management companies.

The charter school Hamtramck Academy was the top-rated elementary/middle school in Michigan, according to the Mackinac Center report card. Hamtramck Academy is operated by the for-profit company National Heritage Academies.

Many other charter schools across the state received an A on the Mackinac Center report card and were operated by for-profit education management companies.

“Parents are looking for access to schools that give their children a better chance to succeed,” said Ben DeGrow, the education policy director for the Mackinac Center. “Certain politicians don’t like the fact that many parents have chosen quality schools that happen to contract with for-profit companies to provide instruction. State leaders should be focused on giving families access to educational options that work best for them, not putting on ideological blinders to go after schools that have made legal contract arrangements that they don’t like.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.