ERIC Number: ED413388
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Recent Experience with Urban School Choice Plans. ERIC/CUE Digest Number 127.
Cookson, Peter W., Jr.; Shroff, Sonali M.
School choice plans have been widely adopted, and most urban areas have a limited choice plan of some sort. This digest presents an overview of different choice strategies by reviewing the experiences of several urban areas. Minnesota has statewide open enrollment for all students, making all public schools throughout the state open to all students, provided that the receiving school has room and the transfer does not harm racial integration efforts. In 1995, 15% of the state's students participated in various school choice programs. There is mixed evidence about the impact of this program, but it appears that there is little validity to the theory that choice prompts schools and districts to reform programs to meet the demands of families. New York City has instituted a policy of citywide choice. Parents may transfer their children to any city public school if space is available, but the program has received little publicity, and is not widely known. Some districts have published their choice plans, and others rely on magnet schools to promote school choice. In Massachusetts, choice has primarily been a means to achieve racial and ethnic balance in the schools. Acknowledging the negative effects of a choice system based only on magnet schools, the state has expanded its early efforts to include other choice options. The controlled choice option in Boston (Massachusetts) divides the city into three geographic areas for elementary and middle school assignment, but high school choice is citywide. Critics feel that there are so many controls for race, ethnicity, and gender that real school choice by parents is compromised. In Milwaukee (Wisconsin), a voucher system has provided educational alternatives to many low-income students. Pilot voucher programs in other cities are being implemented, and early reports indicate that they can increase educational effectiveness and opportunity, as do other school choice plans. (Contains 17 references.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Admission (School), Educational Vouchers, Elementary Secondary Education, Free Choice Transfer Programs, Nontraditional Education, Political Influences, Private School Aid, Racial Composition, School Choice, School Desegregation, School Restructuring, State Programs, Tax Credits, Tuition, Urban Schools
ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Box 40, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027; phone: 800-601-4868 (free).
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, New York, NY.