"Creep" is a term used in a 2000 study by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution. It refers to the shift of focus that occurs in big, centralized school districts from learning to administration/bureaucracy. After the study came out, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy cited the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) district as an excellent example of the phenomenon, given that 60% of its employees don’t step foot in a classroom.
However big a factor “creep” is in the 75% drop out rate at DPS and reported by the Grand Rapids Pundit, no one argues that the district is in trouble. In fact, according to a 2006 Michigan Education Report, a majority of parents in the City of Detroit want more education alternatives for their children.
In the 1990s, an alternative was introduced into the state beyond costly parochial or private schools: charter schools. While the number of charter schools has grown over the last ten years, it hasn't grown fast enough for the list of students waiting to attend one. This is in large part due to fierce opposition from teacher unions and school boards that argue, among other things, that charter schools are too decentralized, erode traditional school districts and foster commercialism.
Traditionally, costly parochial and private schools provided the only alternative to traditional school districts, but in 1993 Michigan passed charter school legislation –- legislation that is currently ranked 5th in the nation by The Center for Education Reform. The growth of charter schools in the state was helped along in 1996 when the Michigan legislature opened up districts and allowed students to attend public schools outside of the district in which they lived. This was accomplished by allowing the state's allocation per pupil to follow the student to the public school they attended.