Many districts, especially around Detroit, already selectively open their doors to nonresidents to attract more students and the revenue that comes with them under Michigan's enrollment-based school-funding formula. Some districts allow only residents of the same county, or enroll nonresidents only in lower grades. Other districts are completely closed to nonresidents.In New Jersey we call such a system the Interdistrict Public School Choice program, recently expanded by the Legislature. Like in Michigan ours is purely voluntary and only snips away at the edges of a segregated infrastructure. The Journal piece quotes Michigan’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Mike Flanagan, who says in reference to the failing schools in Detroit, "I hate to think that there is a kid struggling in one district, and half a mile away over some artificial border is an opening in a proven public school and they don't have access. There are tensions that are racial often, and we need to move beyond that."
The governor's plan would supersede all those restrictions with a simple rule: Any school with space for a nonresident would have to accept that student, using a lottery system if there aren't enough spots for nonresident students who want them. The state would pay the per-pupil allowance allotted to each district, regardless of where its students reside.
Labels: school choice