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How The Feds Could Help Advance School Choice 

For the first time in decades, poor and working families in Michigan have a glimmer of hope to get needed support for private school tuition.

To date, the state constitution has placed a roadblock before them. But the new Trump administration and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have stirred a great deal of interest in providing a federal airlift for students to get over that barricade.

Trump’s opening gambit is a $250 million proposal to expand private school choice. The amount is a tiny drop in the nation’s $600 billion bucket of annual K-12 education spending. Nevertheless, Michigan could be well-positioned to benefit, depending on what such a program would look like.

Unfortunately, the Beltway partisan divide has only grown since the days some congressional Democrats provided valuable support to Washington, D.C.’s voucher program. One type of program has a plausible chance of passing, since it only requires a majority vote in the Senate: tax credit-funded tuition scholarships. Under such a program, contributors to K-12 scholarship organizations could write their donation off their federal tax bill. This strong incentive encourages more donations. More donations means more scholarships for students who want a privately provided education but can’t afford one. The approach fosters community partnerships between families, schools, nonprofits and their donors.

Story written Ben DeGrow of The Detroit News

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Detroit Parents Opt Out of Testing... 
Lansing Should Listen

Story written by Nancy Kaffer of the Detroit Free Press

The 450-and-counting Detroit parents who've opted out of this year's state standardized tests are asking a simple question: Why?

City schools test low — predictably, because poverty is strongly correlated to poor academic performance, and the number of Detroit kids who live in poverty is unacceptably high — results the state uses to justify any number of punitive measures, most recently, threatening to close schools the state says are failing.

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