Thursday, October 11, 2012

Detroit Parents Want Educational Options; When Will the City Catch Up?

Nearly 80 percent of parents in Detroit would choose an educational option other than their child’s assigned public school, according to a survey by The Detroit News and the Thompson Foundation. 

The survey also found an even split among support for different types of educational options:  20.8 percent favored Detroit Public Schools; 23.8 percent for charter schools; 23.5 percent for private schools, and 17.6 percent preferred schools outside Detroit.

Only one in five Detroit residents believes that their child's assigned public school is the best educational setting for that child. Despite not having the full slate of educational options available to families—Michigan has no publicly-funded private school choice options—parents are already choosing alternatives to Detroit’s schools.

It’s time for real educational choice in Michigan, and especially Detroit, where the following statistics are the sad reality for the struggling city (all statistics courtesy the New Detroit coalition):
  • Only 3 percent of Detroit’s 4th graders and 4 percent of its 8th graders meet national math standards(source:
  • 2010 Michigan on-time high school graduation for African American students was 58%, compared to Latinos (64%), Native Americans (66%), whites (82%), Asians (88%) and 76% overall.
  • Only 2 percent of Detroit’s high school students are prepared for college-level math and 11 percent for college-level reading (source:
  • African-American males in Michigan have the lowest high school graduation rate in the country at 33%. White males in the state gradate at a rate of 74% (source:
  • The achievement gap continues to persist as evidenced by the 2009 Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) test – see chart (source:
  • Nationally in 2008, the status dropout rate for white persons was 4.8% compared to 9.9% for black and 18.3% for Hispanic persons. “Status dropout rate” is defined as the percentage of 16- through 24-year-olds who are not enrolled in school and have not earned a high school credential (source:
The survey polled 800 Detroit residents by landlines and cellphones from September 22-25 by Glengariff Group Inc.  The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Want to learn more about public polling on educational choice in cities and states across the country? Download our comprehensive polling report, released last month.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

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