Detroit’s Choice

, Malcolm A. Kline, 1 Comment

Something is actually growing in Detroit, a city that mostly has been in the news for its losses—charter schools, 66 of them.

school choice rally

Their growth tracks with a statewide trend, and has the Detroit public schools worried.

“With more than 260,000 Michigan students relying on educational choice, critics have likely realized that they must act now to limit it, before its growing popularity makes the task impossible,” Audrey Spalding writes in Impact, a magazine published by the conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Specifically, “this year, more than 150,000 Michigan schoolchildren attend public charter schools. Another 110,000 students use ‘Schools of Choice,’ a state program that allows them to attend public schools outside of their home districts,” Spalding wrote. “Overall, close to one out of every five Michigan schoolchildren rely on some form of educational choice to attend a public school.”

Meanwhile, in the Motor City, “at the end of March, a collection of Detroit-based nonprofits and interest groups called for spending $53 million in state taxpayer money each year to pay off some of DPS’ [Detroit public schools] debt. The coalition also proposed creating a bureaucratic commission to oversee all schools in Detroit, including the Detroit Public Schools district, and the city’s 66 charter schools. This new commission would have the power to unilaterally close schools, and could forbid new schools from opening.” Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder has made a similar proposal.

As it happens, one of my in-laws retired just a few years ago from the DPS where he taught math. We asked him what we should look for in a public school. He gave us a one-word answer: “Homeschool.”