Mackinac Center Current Comment :: 6 August 2008

<>< Josh Rule : : 2008 MCPP Intern

Today’s Current Comment is this week’s Michigan Education Digest from Michigan Education Report.  The most interesting story is about how a bill has recently been rushed through the legislature to allow Detroit Public Schools to maintain their ‘first-class’ status.  The bill also opens up room for more charter schools, though, and teachers throughout Detroit are expected to protest this fact later this month.

Both the special ‘first-class’ status and the possible expansion of charter schools are significant, although for different reasons.  The special status should be removed from Detroit Public Schools because, while it is the largest district in the state of Michigan, it is not different in kind from the others.  It is still a school district, teaching children basic tenets of math, science, literature, history, social science, and the arts.  True, many students are fairing very poorly there, but the extra funding and attention the ‘first-class’ label brings will not solve the problem.  The possible expansion of charters school, on the other hand, should be applauded, because it might help the ailing district.  They are no magic bullet, but they are a step in the right direction.  Charter schools open up another avenue for competition that forces schools to put education before union contracts or teacher salaries.

I am certain that many skilled and committed teachers are part of the Detroit Public Schools, and charter schools leave them with nothing to fear.  In fact, these teachers will most likely be better off with the charter schools than without.  Those who do have a reason to protest this new opening for charter schools are teachers who are not actively engaged in the art of teaching. But, for students, losing teachers who are not passionate about education in order to gain teachers who are can only be a good thing.

Four other stories can be found in the Digest this week, so take a few moments and check it out.


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