Public School Welcomes All

(Unless they're from Detroit.)

Facing a severe overspending problem, East Detroit Public Schools will try to increase revenue by attracting new students through a schools-of-choice program. The board recently agreed to open its doors to any student who lives nearby — unless, that is, the student lives in Detroit.

East Detroit’s leaders apparently fear that an influx of students from their larger neighbor would be disruptive. They cite concerns about dragging down average test scores, higher crime rates, etc.

Unfortunately, such public school discrimination is not new. When legislation was proposed last year to require all districts to accept all students regardless of where they live, several school district officials raised objections that they needed to maintain control over “who is allowed to attend” their state-funded schools.

Compare such behavior to the claims made by many public school officials and school choice opponents that charter public schools "skim the cream" from conventional districts (a claim for which there is a complete lack of evidence). In this and similar cases, it’s the conventional public school districts that are systematically discriminating — against students from Detroit — while more than 100 charter schools in and around that city are serving its families.