Download audioSchool Choice and Segregation

Many opponents of school choice say parents should not have more freedom to choose which schools their children attend.  They think greater choice will lead to the re-segregation of students by race and income. 

This argument not only displays a serious lack of confidence in the people of Michigan—it isn't supported by the evidence.

It just so happens that Michigan schools already are among the most segregated in the country, according to a recent study by the Harvard University Civil Rights Project.  If Michigan's schools are already segregated, how could school choice make them more so?

Another thing you may not know: Private schools—the very schools opponents of school choice fear parents will choose—are far more racially integrated than public schools. A study by the University of Texas confirms that "private schools tend to offer a more racially integrated environment than do public schools."  Public schools replicate the segregation found in their attendance areas, while private schools draw from a variety of neighborhoods.

What it all boils down to is this: If you don't want to see a return to school segregation by race and income, that's no reason to oppose school choice.  It's a reason to champion it.

For the Mackinac Center, I'm Catherine Martin.