The best research on school choice in Detroit shows that it leads to better results at a much lower cost to taxpayers. As Mackinac Center’s Director of Education Policy Ben DeGrow writes in The Detroit News:
The best study on charter schools in Michigan is from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University. This study paired individual students in charter schools with their “virtual twins” in district-run schools, based on their gender, race, grade level, family income, and academic ability as measured by standardized tests. It then compared the gains that these students in charter schools made compared to their “control group,” students just like them enrolled in district-run schools.
The study found that charters did better than conventional public schools in 52 of the 56 different outcomes tested and that Detroit charters gave students an extra two to three months of learning each year. The study called Detroit charters a “model” for other cities.
Meanwhile, on every test since 2009, Detroit’s traditional public school students scored the worst in the nation among big cities on the nation’s report card.
According to the state, in total funding (local, state and federal), Detroit Public Schools spend an average of $18,602 per student while Detroit charter schools spend an average of $10,668 per student.
Much of the Detroit establishment — politicians, interest groups, and unions — want to give the mayor the ability to name members to a Detroit Education Commission that would restrict school choice in the city. The State Senate has given in, and included a $700 million bailout. But the State House has resisted and stood up for taxpayers and Detroit parents, who are saving money and receiving better education opportunities.
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