Although increasing choice between traditional public schools and increasing the number of charter schools will increase parental choice, both approaches fail to take advantage of the existing nonpublic school infrastructure. Currently 12 percent of Michigan elementary and secondary students are enrolled in Michigan nonpublic schools, institutions that are noted for their efficiency and results, and, in urban areas, are often oases of educational excellence in an environment of under-performing public schools. As with public schools, the quality of private schools varies widely, and of course not all private schools are superior to all public schools. But where the best educational opportunity is a private school, parents should be empowered to choose it for their children.
To engage these schools more fully in the quest for educational excellence, the most effective choice programs must reduce the bias against private schools that is currently enshrined in the Michigan Constitution and state law. The barriers that exist to private school choice have been described in detail in preceding sections.