be competitive as a nation, the United States will have to begin to look at the
work force of the future. It will be increasingly black, Hispanic, and female
– as well as unprepared for the 16.5 million new jobs that this economywill generate over the next
twenty years. Eight hundred thousand kids drop out of school annually with
another 800,000 more graduating illiterate.
– Robert Woodson
Education in the United States – public and private, elementary, secondary and
post-secondary – is an enormous enterprise, spending $33 t billion per year. It
employs 7 million persons of whom 3.4 million are teachers. Over 269 billion per
year is spent on public education. Public elementary and secondary education
costs taxpayers at least $183 billion.
 Detroit public school annual
expenditures exceed $730 million. The Detroit public schools have a staff of
17,702 including 8,388 teachers.
Detroit's private schools lag behind their public school counterparts in terms
of per-pupil expenditures, teacher salaries, and the extravagance of their
buildings, private schools have one central achievement: relatively high student
performance. Our focus is quite deliberate. We have declined to focus primarily
on Detroit's public education system. Its problems and failings are well
documented elsewhere. As Robert Woodson says, "the only thing you can learn
from studying poverty is how to create it. The only thing you can learn from
studying failure is how to create it."
 On the other hand, we believe, much
can be learned by studying Detroit private education's success. We encourage
others to do likewise.
Throughout this chapter, a case has been made for authentic educational reform.
There is widespread recognition that the achievements of our educational system
do not match our aspirations and Detroit's international stature, nor is it
commensurate with our large social and economic investment. Traditional "reform"
efforts have not recognized the importance of family choice in educational
services. We are united by a voluntary compact which is strengthened when our
unique social and religious values are respected and given a voice. To the
extent that these motives are suppressed, people feel alienated and
disenfranchised. Every credible study of the cause of our educational lethargy
has determined that parents should be more involved in their children's
educational regime. And yet, we permit our educational system to embezzle the
parents' prior right to determine the kind of education their children should
receive. What right does society have to request of parents' personal
involvement in the education of their children when they are denied a voice in
the distinctive character of that education?
Choice encourages parental involvement. It also allows the voice of parents to
be heard. The frustration with the egregious flaccidity of our current education
system and the bureaucratic excuses from our educational establishment has led
the demand for enlightened
and effective change in Detroit, in Michigan and the: United States.