School Choice in Urban America: Prospects and Challenges

School choice is a broad phrase that includes public, magnet, charter and private schools; home schooling, schools of choice or inter-district (open enrollment) schools; and vouchers — which are not allowed in Michigan. The most common forms of school choice in the state are charter schools and inter-district schools of choice. The issue of school choice — a topic that has become subject to greater scrutiny since the appointment of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education — resonates strongly in Detroit, which is home to the second-largest concentration of charter schools in the country, behind only New Orleans.

In 2015, the National Assessment of Educational Progress again showed that children in Detroit fared worse in school achievement than children in every other large city in the United States; this demands our attention, analysis and advocacy because it is an issue of social justice and educational equity. In the last three years, the Wayne State University College of Education has partnered with local school districts and schools to make sure all children have access to well-prepared teachers and administrators. The success of schools in our community is of particular interest because ensuring that Michigan's children are prepared to compete in the global economy impacts the progress and development of our city, communities and country.

The college invites you to attend School Choice in Urban America: Prospects and Challenges, a dynamic debate and discussion with national and local experts, including:

  • Richard D. Kahlenberg, senior fellow, The Century Foundation
  • Patrick J. Wolf, Ph.D., professor and 21st Century Endowed Chair in School Choice, University of Arkansas
  • Tonya Allen, president and chief executive officer, The Skillman Foundation
  • Sarah Winchell Lenhoff, Ph.D., assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies, Wayne State University
  • Nikolai Vitti, Ed.D., superintendent, Detroit Public Schools Community District
  • Lloyd C. Crews, Ph.D., council member, City of Southfield

This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, and registration is requested. Free parking is available in Structure 1. RSVP to receive more information about the program and parking.

President M. Roy Wilson presents "School Choice in Urban America: Prospects and Challenges" as part of a six-part symposia series featuring topics that reflect the institution's rich legacy of excellence in academics and research. The symposia are held in honor of Wayne State University's Sesquicentennial Celebration. The series is proudly sponsored by Pepsi. Visit to learn more about Wayne State's sesquicentennial. We look forward to celebrating with you!

RSVP now