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Whiston: School choice necessary, but a net loss for MI education

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan’s schools superintendent says he supports choice in education, but thinks the movement has also set back efforts to improve public schools in Michigan. 

Superintendent Brian Whiston appeared on the Michigan Public Television show “Off The Record.” He says charter schools overall don’t out-perform traditional public schools.

“I think the focus over the past 20-25 years has been choice, inter-district choice, there’s been charter choice. While I do support choice, and I want to be clear on that, it hasn’t led – it’s probably taken us backwards overall,” he says.

But charter school advocates say choice has been a positive force.

Dan Quisenberry is with the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.

“Parents in Michigan would certainly disagree,” he says. “No matter what studies you look at, 70-, 80-, 90-percent of parents want to have the choice about where their kids go to school, and think that’s an important part of making education work for them.”

Quisenberry says the competition for students forces all schools to do better.