New website helps Detroit parents choose schools

Part 81 of 81 in the series Educating America

By Mary C. Tillotson | Watchdog.org

A new website, GreatSchoolsDetroit.org, has launched. It aims to help Detroit parents choose the best schools for their kids.

“Parents need to be educated about their school options, and when they use the site, they can ask their own questions and find their own answers,” Caprice Young, senior adviser to the CEO of Great Schools, said in a videocast with Choice Media. “It’s really self-driven. They can find schools that are unique to the needs of their kids — not just the highest-performing schools, but the highest-performing schools that have arts, or strong schools that have math and science, or schools that have more of a community feel as opposed to a more regimented feel.”

Detroit is an interesting place to consider school choice, said Patrick Wolf, professor at the University of Arkansas’s Department of Education Reform.

“Detroit’s a great place to have this because they’ve gone from the overwhelming majority of students attending assigned neighborhood schools to a majority of students attending schools of choice in a very short period of time,” he said. “To make that work well, you need good information.”

The website grades schools based on test scores, safety, class size and other issues that interest parents.

Also on the videocast, Choice Media and Wolf discuss public school choice rallies in South Carolina, the Washington state Legislature’s involvement in senior project mandates, a Florida bill that would allow homeschoolers to join public school sports teams, California schools testing students’ body-mass index and teacher evaluations.

Contact Mary C. Tillotson at mtillotson@watchdog.org.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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