Wednesday, March 15, 2017

School Choice Meltdown in Motown – Have You Heard

School Choice Meltdown in Motown – Have You Heard:

School Choice Meltdown in Motown

I talked to parents in Detroit who are living through that city’s experiment in unregulated school choice…
Since Betsy DeVos was nominated to serve as the top edu-official in the land, her role in shaping Detroit as an education laboratory in which an out-of-control lab fire now burns, has been subject to plenty of scrutiny. But we haven’t heard enough from parents who are living through the city’s experiment in unregulated school choice. In this episode of Have You Heard, the final installment of my ten-part series with collaborator Aaron French, I headed to Detroit to talk to parents about Motown’s school choice meltdown. They describe what it’s like when schools shut down without notice, leaving them to fend for themselves in the “education marketplace,” while mass school closures have left whole neighborhoods without schools. It’s a hard story to hear, and yet these parents, and the advocacy group they’re part of, 482Forward, will leave you feeling hopeful—something we could all use a little more of these days!


Jennifer Berkshire:One thing you need to know about Detroit — it’s enormous, covering some 140 square miles. It’s also seen more school closures than any other city. Nearly 200 schools closed here between 2000 and 2015. For parents and neighborhoods that have borne the brunt of these closings, that can mean lengthy trips just to get their kids to school.

Dawn Wilson-Clark:Two years ago I was driving 200 miles a week to four different schools trying to ensure that my children had a really good education. Now I’m down to 160, but I’m paying a tuition.

Berkshire:That’s Dawn Wilson-Clark. She’s got a big family, seven kids, and all that time she spends driving them around reflects the reality of Detroit’s education marketplace. Schools here aren’t evenly spread across the city. In the Brightmoor neighborhood where Clark has lived for the past 18 years, there are hardly any schools left.

Wilson-Clark:When I moved there, we had nine Detroit public schools. Now it’s only one.

Berkshire:You’ve probably heard of a food desert. Well, whole sections of Detroit are now school deserts. Even as new schools have opened up here, they’re not necessarily located in parts of the city that have the most kids. Brightmoor has 3,500 students but just one school that goes all the way up to 12th School Choice Meltdown in Motown – Have You Heard:

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