School Choice Week brings up school voucher debate - WNEM TV 5

School Choice Week brings up school voucher debate

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Education is in the spotlight this week thanks to National School Choice Week.

There is a lot of discussion if the state should allow government funds to go towards a child's schooling outside of the public school system.

"I want the best education. The safety is important too," said Michele Stevens, parent of a student at North Saginaw Charter Academy.

Stevens said she moved her daughter out of public school because the charter school was a better fit.

"They should have more opportunities and parents should have more opportunities too on what choices they want to make," Stevens said.

She and other advocates are celebrating School Choice Week this week. Just as the new Trump administration is reigniting the debate over school choice.

Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of education, has long been an advocate for school vouchers which allows government funding to follow children who decide to move outside of the public school system.

"We're very much in support of parents being the primary drivers of decisions about their children's education and helping them find effective options that serve them and their kids' needs. Whatever that may look like," said Ben DeGrow, director of education at Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

The center supports school choice and a voucher program. It also believes success is a direct outcome of a school that fits a student the best.

The state's president of the American Federation of Teachers, David Hecker, believes Devos' policies are an attack on public education.

"School vouchers do not let parents choose a school for their child. It lets a school choose the child in order for the private school to get their hands on some public money. And again, that totally undercuts public education," Hecker said.

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