NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED513912
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 44
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 48
Interdistrict Choice as a Policy Solution: Examining Rochester's Urban-Suburban Interdistrict Transfer Program (USITP)
Finnigan, Kara S.; Stewart, Tricia J.
National Center on School Choice, Vanderbilt University (NJ1)
This study examines one of the longest standing interdistrict choice programs in the country: Rochester, New York's Urban-Suburban Interdistrict Transfer Program (USITP). Based upon quantitative and qualitative data, including analysis of approximately forty years of program records, review of program documents and newspaper articles, and interviews with key stakeholders, this paper examines the following: (1) What is the political context of USITP and to what extent has this changed over time?; (2) Who participates in USITP and what are the driving forces affecting enrollment?; and (3) How is USITP implemented at the school and district level and what obstacles exist with regard to program expansion? Findings of this study suggest the importance of understanding the political dynamics and formal and informal processes and practices that facilitate or limit participation in interdistrict choice. Perhaps the most important aspect of this story has to do with the political underpinnings of selection, implementation, and expansion. Key support was necessary in the early stages of development from a variety of interest groups, including the media, politicians, school board members, district administrators, parent groups, and community organizers. This type of mobilization may be necessary for the program to expand both within the current districts and to a larger proportion of the suburban communities located in this region. However, as clearly illustrated throughout this paper, a constant tension exists between the benefits of integration and the self interests of the taxpayer in allowing students to cross district boundaries, particularly in a program that only involves city residents enrolling in the suburbs. Finally, a key finding from this study is that the broader community in Rochester and elsewhere should develop a greater understanding of the negative effects of segregation on the larger community. The USITP governing board (made up of the participating district superintendents) could consider sponsoring events to not only share information about the program but to encourage additional districts to join in its efforts. While this may prompt the program to expand, any broader regional solution will likely require mandates or incentives from state or local policymakers. (Contains 5 tables and 8 footnotes.) [This paper was prepared for School Choice and School Improvement: Research in State, District and Community Contexts, Vanderbilt University, October 25-27, 2009.]
National Center on School Choice, Vanderbilt University. Box 459 GPC, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, TN 37203. Tel: 615-322-8107; Fax: 615-322-8828; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: Vanderbilt University, National Center on School Choice
Identifiers - Location: New York