Schools-of-choice racism alleged, denied

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. – Accusations and denials of racism erupted at a Madison School District town hall meeting Wednesday, where the topic was whether to allow more schools-of-choice students to enroll, according to a report by television station WJBK-Fox 2, Detroit.

Superintendent John Telford told Fox 2 News that in order to stay fiscally solvent, the district needs to raise the cap on the number of students it accepts from other districts, and that “the obvious place to get them is Detroit.”

Madison residents say the district cannot accommodate more students and denied charges that race is the reason they do not want to lift the cap, the station reported. But Telford said one parent told him that she does not want her children to attend school with black students, according to the report.

Detroit Public Schools residents who attended the event said that Madison should stop recruiting Detroit students, with one woman saying, “Leave our children where they’re at.”

Telford said that Detroit parents have sought out Madison, “almost in desperation,” the report said.

WJBK-Fox 2, “Sides clash at heated school meeting,” April 1, 2009

Michigan Education Digest, “Enrollment down, choice and charters up,” Sept. 29, 2008