Parent-Driven Charter System a Role Model

Read this piece at Manhattan Institute


Parent-Driven Charter System a Role Model by Max Eden and Matthew Ladner

One year ago, President Trump nominated Betsy DeVos for secretary of education. Shortly thereafter, the technocratic faction of the education reform establishment joined with the teachers’ unions to declare war against her and against Michigan’s charter schools. The evidence, they said, is clear: Michigan’s charter schools are uniquely awful. But the evidence has been piling up that Michigan charter schools are actually unusually good.

The first shot fired came from the opinion pages of the New York Times, where Tulane University professor Doug Harris declared that DeVos’ nomination represented, “a triumph of ideology over evidence.” He held her responsible for charter schools in Detroit, which he called “the biggest school reform disaster in the country.”

Oddly, Harris linked his claim to a Stanford study showing that Detroit’s charter schools significantly outperform its traditional public schools. He, and the rest of Michigan charter critics, also ignored studies from the Mackinac Center and Excellent Schools Detroit that also showed a substantial charter edge.

But no matter. The narrative was set. The Atlantic, the Washington PostPoliticothe New RepublicNewsweek, and others piled on: it’s the Wild West out there, there aren’t enough regulations, there isn’t enough accountability, there are too many for-profit operators. Never mind the best evidence at the time, from another Stanford study, that showed that Michigan’s charter schools outperform its traditional public schools on 52 of 56 metrics


Read the entire piece here at The Detroit News, originally appearing on November 29, 2017.


Max Eden is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here

Matthew Ladner is a senior fellow at Ed Choice.