LANSING—In 1998 the Mackinac Center for Public Policy reported that the state of Michigan had ended a 40-plus-year history of mandating that public schools provide driver’s education classes to its students. Several districts opted to drop their programs, as it was something of a distraction from teaching the basics.
Last year, in a Mackinac Center report entitled, “Recommendations to Strengthen Civil Society and Balance Michigan’s State Budget,” the Center encouraged the state to stop subsidizing such programs altogether and the state did just that, saving taxpayers more than $7 million annually.
With so many students turning to private providers of driver’s education services, competition between companies will likely result in better, cheaper services. Blake Erickson, President of Student Driver’s School Corporation, a private company located in Freeland, Mich., agrees. His company, which has been in business for 25 years through word-of-mouth referrals, offers its customers convenience they couldn’t get when schools provided the service. “School districts offer the program only in the summer, we offer the program year round,” stated Erickson. Many families travel during the summer and are willing to pay more to take the class at different times of the year.