Taking a Look at Detroit: What does the data really say about Detroit Charter Schools?

Guest Author
Dec 9, 2016 3:00:00 PM

Detroit schools, and their ability to serve students, have had their fair (or unfair) share of attention lately. It goes without saying, but I am going to say it anyway: Detroit is suffering, and education in the city is suffering. But there are bright spots and pockets around the city. There are schools that are serving students well, and serve as alternatives to the status quo. And in most cases, those shining stars are charter schools. Despite what you may hear or read, charter schools are providing real opportunity for students in Detroit. And, despite the statistical gymnastics that are portrayed in the media, charter schools are sound choice for Detroit parents and students.

  1. Of the top 25 performing schools in M-STEP math performance in Detroit, 80% are charter schools.
  2. Of the top 25 performing schools in M-STEP ELA performance in Detroit, 84% are charter schools.
  3. Detroit charter school students have higher average rates of proficiency in math and ELA than their traditional counterparts as measured by the M-STEP.
  4. English language learners in Detroit perform better on ELA M-STEP assessments at charter schools, with proficiency rates that are 50% higher than traditional schools.
  5. Detroit charters outperform their traditional counterparts in each M-STEP subject area.
The point here isn’t to suggest that charter schools should replace traditional schools. Or to pit one option against another. The point is that, as an option, charter schools are succeeding, and they deserve credit for working hard to serve struggling students. And as an impetus for change, charters are succeeding there as well.  After many years of status quo operation, Detroit Public Schools are beginning to experiment with new ways to operate and educate children. Charter schools in Detroit are raising the bar for everyone and students will benefit from the innovation.

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