Michigan’s Charter School Day at the State Capitol

By Buddy Moorehouse

In case you missed it, more than 600 charter school supporters from all corners of Michigan came to Lansing on Wednesday, May 3, for Charter Day at the Capitol. The group included charter school parents, students, teachers, administrators and advocates.

They came to the Capitol during National Charter Schools Week to send the message that Michigan’s charter schools are delivering on the promise that accountability and innovation will lead to greater student achievement and success.

The group took part in a variety of activities in and around the Capitol, including a huge rally on the Capitol steps in the morning that featured a keynote address by noted education reformer Kevin Chavous, who led the fight to bring charter schools to Washington, D.C. as a member of the city council there.

Chavous rallied the parents by telling them, “Here on Charter Day, let’s give rise to the hope and possibility associated with the future of these young people. This is what this is all about. And when people ask you the question—why are charter yet schools so important?—you give them these answers. Because not only is my child important—all children are important. And guess what? America is important.”

The rally also celebrated several “charter champions” from the past year, including charter school teams and students who won basketball championships, state spelling bees, essay contests and more.

The boys’ basketball team from University Preparatory Academy, boys’ basketball champion of the Charter School League, was among the teams being honored at the Capitol, as they received a legislative tribute for their athletic and academic success.

Michigan charter school supporters also had numerous meetings with legislators and sat in on the Senate and House Sessions. There were also several performances by Michigan charter school groups, including cheerleaders from Bradford Academy in Southfield and the choir from Light of the World Academy in Pinckney. There was even a student celebrating his Rubik’s Cube skills by solving the cube in less than 40 seconds!

The attendees came away with a sense of satisfaction that their message was delivered.

“This was an awesome day,” said Pamela Apap, a parent from Canton Charter Academy who came to Charter Day at the Capitol with her son, Luke. “We really believe in charter schools. My son has excelled in charter schools. I came here to deliver the message that we need school choice 100 percent. I have four children and they all have different needs and they all learn at different levels. Parents should be able to choose what school they go to, and charter schools are an excellent choice.”

“I came here to support my daughter,” said Tara Hardy, a parent from Light of the World Academy in Pinckney. “I came here to support charter schools. I’m a charter school parent, and I believe that parents should have a choice. I came here to let Lansing know that they need to make sure we always have a choice.”

“It was a spectacular day, and it was so heartwarming to see all the people whose lives have been transformed thanks to charter schools,” said Dan Quisenberry, President of MAPSA, the state charter school association. “We had so many parents who have seen their children find the pathway to a brighter future at a charter school, and they wanted to tell Lansing about it. There’s so much love and appreciation out there for what charter schools have to offer, and they came to the Capitol to spread the word.”

There are 300 charter schools in Michigan, educating just over 10 percent of school children in the state.

The Charter Day at the Capitol event came on the heels of some great news for the charter school community in Michigan, as the highly respected US News & World Report rankings of the Best High Schools in America revealed last week that the three best high schools in Michigan are all charter schools.

“It’s a great time to be a charter school student in Michigan,” Quisenberry said. “Lansing certainly got that message today.”
#Schoolchoice #Allkidsmatter #MICharters

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