Our Schools, Our Choice

Detroit-area charter school parents say the best path forward in Detroit is to let charters schools flourish. "I prefer a charter. I have a choice, and I want the best education for my son," Lisa Cobb said. Lisa sends her son to Winans Academy in Detroit.

In these video vignettes, you can hear parents’ individual stories. Detroit parents describe how they came to pick the charter school for their child, and why. Parents also talk about how they feel about attempts to limit choice in their city. “I don’t want to be told where I can send my child,” Danielle Henderson said. Danielle grew up attending Detroit Public Schools, and now sends her son to Eaton Academy. "I didn't want my son to grow up in a system I grew up in," she said.

Background & Commentary

Coalition’s Vision for Detroit: More Bureaucracy; Less Innovation

A Detroit coalition has released its long-awaited recommendations on education policy for Detroit. Though the ... more

Protecting Detroit School Choice is Critical

This fall, legislators will likely consider a major proposal billed to improve public education in the city of Detroit. ... more

Detroit Charter School Students Gaining Months of Extra Education Per Year

Out of 20 conventional high schools in Detroit, 18 are failing academically, ... more

Detroit Coalition Plan Would Lead to More Schools Outside of Detroit

The River Rouge School District buses students out of Detroit to attend its schools. This makes financial ... more

Click to watch each family's story!

School choice is helping the Flores family trying to bridge the education gap between English and English Second Language students. The family describes how choice allowed them to find a school that not only met their specific language needs but one that addressed a special need and provided a tailor-made academic plan.

LaTanya Dorsey thought she had to send her daughter to the neighborhood public school that was assigned to her address. When she learned she had a choice, she looked for a school with a positive environment and found one at a charter academy.

Jocelyn wanted her granddaughters to have a better school experience than the one she remembers when she moved her family to Detroit 17 years ago. Jocelyn and her daughter, Janine discuss freedom of choice and how it’s reminiscent of the 1965 Voting Rights Movement.

Cory Hughes has five children and five grandchildren. He has seen charter school success through two generations. He addresses criticisms of charters including lack of transparency, for-profit management companies and too much “shopping around” for parents to find the right school.

Danielle Henderson grew up attending Detroit Public Schools. She felt unprepared for college and didn’t want her son to have the same experience. She values school choice. She wants her son to reach his potential and likes the fact that she can research schools to see if there is a better fit. Without charters, she says she’d be stuck. “I can’t afford private school,” she says.

Toya Putnam lives next to a Detroit Public school but chooses to send her 7 year to Connor Creek, a charter school, miles away. She said she was attracted to the curriculum, smaller class sizes and individual attention.

The Hesters attended Detroit public schools and believe now as parents, families need to have buy-in to make school a success for their children. Upon research, they found a charter that best suits their needs and their daughters are excelling.

Tamika Harrison bounced from school to school growing up in the Detroit Public Schools. The experience contributed to her dropping out and later getting her GED. She is now turning to charter schools to spare her son the same experience.

Tress Andrews says charter has been a positive experience for her daughter. She is on the honor roll and learning a strong work ethic.

Lisa Cobb has a third grader and a daughter old enough to be working towards her PhD. She prefers charter to conventional school and especially likes that fact that her son wears a tie everyday.

Nancy Clark saw first hand the Detroit charter she chose for her grandchildren - she works there. But that is not the only reason she wanted to be careful about where to send her girls. A recent visit to a Detroit conventional school made her realize the value of choice.

Pam Russell teaches at a Detroit charter school where her grand daughter now attends kindergarten. She enjoys getting better professional development and watching her granddaughter learn violin in the classroom.