A recent article in Bridge magazine claimed school choice is causing segregation in metro Detroit, but Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s Director of Education Policy Ben DeGrow said there’s more to the charter-school picture.
While determining if “segregation has occurred as the result of numerous voluntary decisions is complicated and controversial,” DeGrow said in a recent op-ed for The Detroit News that some studies have shed light on what happens when choice is allowed.
A 2009 RAND study of eight states found that when students enroll in charter schools, the new school tends to look like the old one, at least in its racial make-up. An Urban Institute analysis of all U.S. counties found no connection between increased choice and how many white classmates minority pupils have.
A study by Michigan State University found that low-income and black students are more likely to exercise choice and be mobile. More importantly, research shows these students benefit from choice.
Taking away educational options because the law is not perfect would disproportionately harm Michigan's lower-income and minority families. Instead, lawmakers could consider ways to enhance the program's role as a helpful lifeline for parents seeking something better.
Read the full op-ed in The Detroit News.
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