NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan paid a visit to a charter school run by a Democrat who was briefly in the running to be Republican President Donald Trump's education secretary.
The Wisconsin Republican did not speak with reporters gathered outside the Success Academy charter school in Harlem on Tuesday, but he praised the school's "great kids and their committed teachers" in a statement afterward.
"The quality of teacher training and preparedness was extraordinary," Ryan said.
More than 100 activists greeted Ryan with chants including "Paul Ryan shame on you! You don't care if people die." Ryan, who helped lead an effort to pass a House bill seeking to repeal and replace Democratic former President Barack Obama's health care law, waved at the demonstrators as he left the school building.
The school is part of a network of 41 schools run by former city Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, a longtime advocate of school choice and charter schools.
The Success Academy schools have won praise for students' high scores on statewide math and English tests but have weathered controversies including a leaked video that showed a teacher disciplining a student harshly.
Moskowitz announced after meeting with Trump in November that she was taking herself out of the running to serve as education secretary.
She said she was pleased to welcome Ryan to her network's flagship school.
"The education crisis in our city and country is profoundly damaging to millions of children, and parent choice has proven to be an effective lever in education reform," she said in a statement. "Speaker Ryan took the opportunity to see firsthand what is working: the excellent teaching and learning — in science, math, reading, and visual arts — that have placed our schools among the top 2 percent of all New York state schools."
Ryan also briefly visited a traditional public school that shares the Success Academy's building.
This story has been corrected to show Success Academy operates 41 schools, not 34.