Editor’s Note: More school choice would help Detroit

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

This is National School Choice Week, and it’s an awareness campaign of the variety of choices parents should have regarding where to send their children to school.

It is easy to imagine that many Detroit parents this week wish they had better school choices.

With a string of teacher “sickouts” this month, thousands of Detroit families have been left in the difficult position of making last-minute child care decisions. Teachers are striking — even though it’s illegal in Michigan — for a variety of reasons, including school conditions, pay and the governor’s plans for restructuring Detroit Public Schools.

While charter schools have flourished in Detroit, Michigan’s constitution blocks true choice in the form of vouchers or tax credits for private schools. Those options would open up many more possibilities for parents to afford a quality education for theirs kids.

In recent months, some Republican lawmakers have called for dissolving DPS and moving toward vouchers. It’s too bad it requires a change to the constitution, as vouchers and tax credits are offering parents and students valuable alternatives around the country, including Florida, Louisiana and Arizona.

Just last week, Martin Luther King III, the son of Martin Luther King Jr., supported the continuation of Florida’s tax credit system for low-income children. The Florida teachers union is suing to block the program.

A good education is a civil rights issue. And Michigan should offer its neediest families these kinds of choices, too.