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Thu October 11, 2012
Despite more school choice, Detroit parents still frustrated
Eighty percent of Detroit parents say they do not believe the city's public schools are the best choice for their child. But they’re split on the other options as well.
A new survey from the Detroit News and the Thompson Foundation asks Detroit parents how they feel about their school choices.
Only one in five parents picked DPS as the best for their kid. But even with the recent increase in school options - charter, private, public schools outside the city - none was a clear winner.
Sharlonda Buckman is the with the Detroit Parent Network. She says the good news here is that with more choices available to them, parents are getting more involved.
"Unlike years in the past, parents really are exercising their choice," she says. "They're really working to understand the issues better. They're getting more involved. And I think that's what we can be really optimistic about."
But more choice doesn’t necessarily mean more quality. Buckman recalls parents who’ve left DPS out of frustration, only to find that charter schools may not provide enough support for special needs students.
At the end of the day, parents’ are still frustrated, she says. "Children are the ones who are getting the short end of the stick, and that's been happening way too long. So as much as we have more choices now, there's still not enough good choices for kids."
DPS is trying to come back from declining enrollment and governance issues. Of the parents who do enroll their child in DPS, 80% say they’re satisfied with the system.
Still, most parents say they would enroll their kids in another school system, but transportation is the biggest obstacle to school choice.