Highlights Power of School Choice in Michigan

Students, families attribute freedom in education to success in school

Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015

Chantal Lovell
Media Relations Manager

MIDLAND — Parents, lawmakers, media and community members now have a one-stop-shop to learn about Michigan’s charter schools and how they are improving the lives and futures of over 150,000 children each year.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy unveiled today to tell the stories of the children — many of them low-income — who attend charter schools in Michigan. In addition to hosting several videos, the site contains facts and statistics that show school choice overwhelmingly improves educational outcomes for students.

“This new resource tells just some of the countless stories about how charter schools have benefited Michigan parents and students,” said Michael Van Beek, director of research at the Mackinac Center. “One need not look far to find success stories like those of the students at Star International Academy in Dearborn Heights, where 100 percent of its high school seniors not only graduate, but are admitted to college.”

The site debunks common myths associated with charter schools, such as the myth that charter schools perform worse on average than traditional public schools. High-quality research shows that 42 and 35 percent of charter schools outperform traditional schools in math and reading, respectively. Also, charter schools are not necessarily for the well-to-do: A larger portion of charter school students are low-income (70 percent) compared to traditional public schools (44 percent).

“As lawmakers discuss reforming Detroit Public Schools, they should remember the children and families whose stories on are testaments to the promise of charter schools and school choice,” Van Beek said. “Parents, not bureaucrats, should be in charge of their children’s educational opportunities.”

The sentiments expressed in the videos on echo those of Detroit residents, a majority of whom in a recent survey said parents need more school choice, not less. The poll, conducted by Denno Research LLC in late October, also found that respondents overwhelmingly oppose reducing parents’ ability to have choices in their children’s education.

“Parents need to have choices for all aspects of their children’s lives, including their education,” Koree Woodward, regional director of Grand River Preparatory in Kentwood, said in one of the videos. “Grand River Prep in this community is the opportunity for students to learn in a safe environment with a rigorous curriculum that’s also very reflective of the diverse community that we live in.”

# # # # #