From its inception Michigan Future Schools understood that the schools it invests in need to be good at operations, academics and student recruitment. All three matter. That in addition to financial support, MFS needed to help the schools it invests in build the capacity to be first rate in all three areas.When it came to designing student recruitment assistance, we found that no one had done the basic research on how Detroit parents chose the schools they enrolled their children in. When we looked nationally for that kind of research, we couldn’t find it either.
That is the genesis of this report: Doing the basic research to better understand Detroit parents as shoppers for k-12 schools. Given the absence of this basic research, we decided to focus on all students, not just high school students. The resulting report provides a descriptive profile of the school shopping behavior of 1,073 Detroit households with 1,699 school-age children. Based on doorstep interviews and focus group discussions with these families, the report represents one of the most comprehensive and aggressive attempts nationally to answer important questions about how parents, especially low-wealth families, think about and pursue school options within a major urban setting. The report also provides rich descriptions of how four different school shopper types approach the school search and selection process.