School choice producing segregation in districts across the state

Source: Mike Wilkinson, Bridge, September 20, 2016

For more than a decade, Holland Public Schools has watched its enrollment fall, prompting the closure – and demolition – of multiple schools. The decline is not the result of an aging community with fewer, school-age children. Rather, it’s largely a reflection of Michigan’s generous school choice policies. Choice has, consciously or not, left districts like Holland not only scrambling for students, but more racially segregated as its white students leave, often for districts that are less diverse. … In the two decades since Michigan adopted school choice, Holland’s white enrollment has plummeted 60 percent, with 2,100 fewer white students. Today, whites comprise 49 percent of school-age children living in the district, but only 38 percent the school population (Hispanics make up 47 percent of Holland schools). From Holland to metro Detroit, Flint to Jackson, tens of thousands of parents across Michigan are using the state’s schools of choice program to move students out of their resident districts and into ones that are more segregated, a Bridge analysis of state enrollment data shows. … Today, Bridge chronicles segregation patterns in districts across the state. You can use this Bridge database to see if choice has impacted student demography in your district. …