Who’d you rather? DPS or Charter?

Who’d you rather? DPS or Charter?

It’s a presidential election year; campaign calls, flyers, yard signs and who can get away from those “and I approve this message” commercials. With politics bombarding our lives at every turn, it’s impossible not to take a look and assess local government and grade them on the job they’ve done so far. There’s been a lot of good taking place in the city of Detroit; from the renovation of Cobo center, beautiful Belle Isle becoming a national park, the construction of the new Red Wings entertainment district , to the development of the very first subway rail system ever in the motor city the, M-1 Rail , just to name a few. But even through all the good, the ugly and not so good has been exposed.

Although, only two months into 2016, the deplorable conditions of Detroit Public Schools is the black-eye to all the good that’s going on in the city. Pasteur Elementary kindergarten and twenty-six year Detroit Public School teacher, Jennifer Jackson says, “It’s something that has been going on for years. Our building was built in 1928 and it takes all day to heat up or all day for it to cool down.”

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But it brings to question; event though Detroit is experiencing resurgence, wouldn’t those who are moving back to the city demand a better school district? “Many people who are moving back into or just moving to Detroit because of the trend, don’t have children yet, they’re mostly young, single Caucasian people,” says Jackson. “Or they’re able to send their children to private schools. Jackson further believes that public or charter schools will eventually divide DPS.

So, there is another option parents/guardians can consider when it comes to educating their children; charter schools. Public charter schools are also state run but without all of the overhead in administration cost that most public schools battle with. STEAM Coordinator and former University Prep Science and Math Middle School teacher Monica Smylor says, “The advantage a charter school teacher has over a DPS school teacher would be the resources they have to teach, such as technology and a budget to provide materials to students.” The middle school is also located inside the Michigan Science center, further stimulating students who are interested in science and math. Smylor also says when she was an engineering teacher for the school; she had a budget of several thousand dollars per year! That’s a stark contrast to DPS teachers when they’ve been known provide bathroom tissue from out of their personal money! Funding for DPS students has fallen in recent years.

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So who’d you rather? Both DPS and charter schools have their own challenges. DPS’ challenges have been in the news for some time but they have still maintained a steady graduation rate. However, “charter schools have struggled with maintaining students through graduation because they’re too new for some colleges to consider,” says Smylor. She goes on to say, “Many charter schools do not compete in sports on a state level and that may discourage students from enrolling and losing the opportunity to be recruited on a sports scholarship from colleges.” Detroit native and mother of 11-year old 5th grader Jaden, Valencia Powell, 36, says she decided to send her son to a charter school because it was the best choice for him and had planned to move out of the city. However, she is considering sending him to one of the “big two” high schools in Detroit, Renaissance High or Cass Tech High, because they have a reputation of excellent education, high rate of college recruitment and it’s a family tradition to graduate from one of the city’s prestigious schools. Powell’s latter reason for considering transferring her son from a charter school back into the DPS system is one that Smylor’s charger administration is fighting to change.

There’s an old an old idiom that says “6 of one hand, half dozen of the other” meaning that either way you address it, it’s all the same. There are challenges on both sides. Ultimately it’s up to parents/guardians to choose what’s best for their student.