Most parents writing a recipe for a successful school might include in their list of
ingredients talented teachers, eager students, and quality teaching materials. Few would
consider politicians an essential part of the mix.
Thats why Governor Englers proposal to allow mayors of Michigan cities to
take over poorly performing school districts is not likely to improve student performance
in Detroit or other struggling urban areas.
Lets look at the Chicago experience. In 1994, Mayor Daley assumed control of all
of the citys public schools. To his credit, the Mayor has contracted out
noneducational services, like busing and food, to private vendors, resulting in savings of
over $20 million in three years.
But the extra money freed up for core educational programs in Chicago schools has still
not translated into higher student test scores, which are lower than they were six years
Meanwhile, 77 percent of Detroit parents support bold reforms such as tuition tax
credits, which would help them choose for their children alternatives to the citys
failing public schools.
Michigan education will improve when parents are empowered to select the best schools
for their children, not when the state selects which politician runs the schools.
For the Mackinac Center, this is Catherine Martin.