Editor’s Note: Thank goodness for choice in Detroit

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

Teachers at Detroit Public Schools blocked their students from attending school on Monday and Tuesday because they were worried they might miss paychecks this summer.

Although that’s bad news for the 46,000 students who attend DPS, the majority of students in the city still got to go to school this week thanks to charter schools. In Detroit, 53 percent of students (more than 50,000) are enrolled in charters.

It’s National Charter Schools Week, so it’s a good opportunity to look at the charter landscape in Michigan and the value these schools have brought to the state’s students—many of them in urban and low-income areas. There are currently 300 charter schools in the state. Nationally, 2.9 million students attend charters.

Charters in Michigan have taken a lot of heat in recent years for not posting better student test scores than other public schools. That is true in some cases.

Charter schools are no panacea. But give parents some credit for knowing what school is best for their child. According to a poll conducted by the Marketing Resource Group and commissioned by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, 62 percent of Michigan voters have a favorable opinion of charter schools.

Even President Barack Obama issued a proclamation marking National Charter Schools Week. “Charter schools play an important role in our country’s education system,” the president states.

Many Michigan families agree.