Parents should drive reform of Detroit schools

Everybody wants to rule the world, and they all want to fix the schools, but one group is too often left out.

That’s parents. Remember them? 

Ben DeGrow has a great blog post reminding us all to remember the forgotten stakeholders.

He says…

Exhibit one is an October poll released by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, which found that seven in 10 Detroit parents want more school choice. Eliminating the competition represented by one of those choices – charter schools – is among the top objectives of the status quo interests.

Evidence of parents’ frustration was also found tucked below the fold of a recent Associated Press story about one proposed bailout plan for the failed school district. The mother of two 10th-graders, Wytrice Harris, was quoted saying that the Detroit school her children attend has failed to provide a full-time English teacher for most of this academic year.

“None of us have local say in our schools,” Harris said.

And no say could be more local than placing greater control of their children’s own school into the hands of parents. When students and their families are freed from being the wards of public school officials, the priority of placing a great English teacher is in front of every class will assume its proper place.

School choice is not a silver bullet, but it more closely aligns with grass roots Detroiters’ own observations and offers a tangible promise of better things to come. Forty-two percent of respondents to that October poll said that public charter schools have bettered the city’s overall education climate, compared to just 24 percent who said charters were making the situation worse.

Research backs up the popular view. The typical Detroit charter student picks up 70 additional days of learning each year in core subjects, according to a 2015 study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes.


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