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Survey: Detroiters want more school choice

Nov 4, 2015

Credit Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Seventy five percent of Detroiters think Detroit parents need more school choices for their children.

That's according to a recent poll of 600 Detroit residents, nearly half of whom are parents of school-aged children. It was commissioned by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, which represents charter schools.

"Parents want choices, and so they like having a variety," said Dan Quisenberry, president of MAPSA. "They also want to be in control of that choice."

About 80% of those polled said parents want a system where parents can be in control of choosing the school for their kids.

The poll also asked whether charter schools have improved education in Detroit or made it worse. Forty-two percent said charter schools have made education in Detroit better, compared to 24 percent who said they have made it worse.

The survey questions did not ask whether parents were satisfied with the quality of the schools.

The results of the poll were released by MAPSA at a press conference attended by some Detroit parents of school aged children. They cited concerns about safety, class size, transportation, teacher turnover, attention to special needs, and educational quality. Several noted that problems and strengths can be found in both public and charter schools. 

"The whole idea of this is that we parents have a choice," said Francie Kennedy, a Detroit parent who has had children in both traditional public and charter schools. "We're not pitting public schools against charter schools or private schools or suburban schools. Parents should have a choice of where our kids are being educated, and that's the main thing."