NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 4, 2010

A brand new survey shows that parents of school children in Detroit overwhelmingly desire more school choice.  Every single one of the 600 Detroiters surveyed support more scholarships and financial aid for private schools, and 95 percent of the respondents favor tax incentives for businesses to fund those scholarships, says Michael Van Beek, director of education policy with the Mackinac Center. 

  • Excellent Schools in Detroit (ESD), an organization made up of a number of charitable foundations like the Skillman Foundation, Kellogg Foundation and United Way, conducted the survey.
  • Participants responded either online or while attending one of the six community meetings sponsored by ESD.
  • More than 100 ideas were presented in the survey and of those, more private school scholarships and tax credits for businesses were among the ones with the most widespread support. 

By supporting tuition tax credits, Detroiters clearly understand the powerful potential of unleashing more school choice in the city.  Research confirms their convictions.  Of 10 recent scientific studies, all but one showed significant academic gains for students participating in these types of school choice programs, says Van Beek. 

Other notable ideas supported by Detroiters contained in the survey are: 

  • Removing ineffective teachers (86 percent).
  • Increasing pay for very effective teachers (81 percent).
  • Freeing school principals to make staffing decisions (74 percent).
  • Contracting out administrative services (71 percent).
  • Privatizing noninstructional services (65 percent).
  • Creating new public charter schools (71 percent).  

Source: Michael Van Beek, "Detroiters Yearn For Tuition Tax Credits," Mackinac, January 29, 2010; and Survey, "Where We Stand; Community Meeting Survey Results," Excellent Schools in Detroit, January 2010. 

For text:  

For ESD survey: 


Browse more articles on Education Issues