A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

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Choice For Me But Not For Thee?

School district supports 'schools of choice,' but opposes charters

A school district in Michigan that gets 18 percent of its student body via the state's schools of choice program appears to have attacked legislation supporting expanded parental choice when it comes to charter and cyber schools in a resolution.

It raises the question of whether school district officials only believe in a parent’s right to choose a school if it is their district, said Michael Van Beek, education policy director for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

The Berkley School District Board of Education passed a resolution that appears to attack charter public schools, although the school board president denied that in an email.

The resolution states legislative actions have favored “private-sector vendor’s access to public dollars” and criticized legislation for having “no expectation of transparency and accountability as it establishes unlimited for-profit charters and cyber–schools whose governing bodies will or may be located in other states …”

Berkley School Board President Marc Katz, however, said the resolution wasn’t about opposing charter schools.

“The Berkley School Board in their resolution did not say that they were opposed to charter schools, what they said was that charter schools should have to play by the same rules that traditional public schools have to play by,” Katz wrote in an email.

Berkley had 878 students who attended the district through the state's schools of choice option in the fall of 2010. The total student body was about 4,700.

“The district is benefiting from parents having more choice,” Van Beek said. “There is no logical reason why parents should only be able to choose between Berkley and the school district next door. It’s sort of a ‘choice for me, but not for thee’ situation.”

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See also:

Berkley School District: Response

Public School District 'Strikes Out' on Criticism of Charter Schools

Charter School Demand Continues to Rise

The Republicans Who Blocked Charter School Choice

Commentary: Research Shows Parental Choice Works

Democratic Proposal: Charter Public Schools Must Outperform Conventional School Test Scores by 20 Percent

Parents Pin Hopes on Charter School Lottery

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