Charter schools dominate in Bridge Magazine’s Academic State Champs rankings

Central Academy in Ann Arbor ranked No. 1 in the state among medium-sized counties.
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Charter schools make up only 10 percent of Michigan’s public schools, but they dominated in this year’s Bridge Magazine Academic State Champs rankings, which were released today.

Every year, Bridge Magazine ranks all public schools in Michigan using a formula that evaluates which schools “perform well above expectations in student performance.” This year, Bridge only ranked high schools, because Michigan switched from the MEAP to the M-STEP standardized test, making it harder to evaluate elementary and middle schools.

Bridge also separated schools by county size and family poverty/income levels. In the areas where charter schools are most highly concentrated – large and medium-sized counties, serving low-income and middle-income families – charters dominated the rankings. (There are very few charters in small counties or in areas with higher incomes.)

Charter schools are ranked No. 1 in every area where they’re most highly concentrated.

This year’s rankings:


Lowest incomes

1. Star International Academy – CHARTER – Wayne County

2. Henry Ford Early College – Traditional – Wayne County

3. Riverside Academy-West Campus – CHARTER – Wayne County

4. Crestwood High School – Traditional – Wayne County

5. Frontier International Academy – CHARTER – Wayne County

6. Cesar Chavez High School – CHARTER – Wayne County

Middle incomes

1. Wellspring Preparatory High School – CHARTER – Kent County

2. Renaissance High School – Traditional selective enrollment – Wayne County

3. (tie) West Michigan Aviation Academy – CHARTER – Kent County

3. (tie) West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science – CHARTER – Kent County


Lowest incomes

1. Central Academy – CHARTER – Washtenaw County

2. Bendle High School – Traditional – Genesee County

3. Comstock High School – Traditional – Kalamazoo County

4. Countryside Academy – CHARTER – Berrien County

“The metric that Bridge Magazine uses is an important one, and it’s no surprise that charter schools dominate the Academic State Champs rankings,” said Dan Quisenberry, President of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA), the state charter school association. “Bridge looks at every school in the state and says, ‘Based on your location and the income level of your families, you’re expected to perform like this.’ The schools that exceed those expectations are the Academic State Champs. And what we see is that charter schools far outperform the expectations in the areas where we need them the most.

“Look at Wayne County and the Detroit area. Among lower-income families, four of the top six high schools are charter schools. In the Grand Rapids area among middle-income families, all three of the highest-ranked schools are charter schools. These rankings bear out what parents already know: Charter schools are making a huge difference.”

Bridge Magazine’s Academic State Champs rankings can be found here.

About Buddy Moorehouse 118 Articles
Longtime Livingston County journalist Buddy Moorehouse is director of communications at the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.