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ERIC Number: ED523959
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 36
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Diversity and Educational Gains: A Plan for a Changing County and Its Schools
Orfield, Gary; Frankenberg, Erica
Civil Rights Project / Proyecto Derechos Civiles
This report is a response to the Jefferson County School Board's request for an independent study of the best way to carry successfully into the future its long-term commitment to diversity in its schools. The Board's first principle is preservation of diversity in the schools. The authors' assignment from the board was two-fold: to build on the long-term commitment to diverse schools through a student assignment plan that provides broad family choice, and to recommend ways to improve the plan. This report is the authors' response to that request. Their basic conclusion is that it is possible to have a higher level of diversity than is provided by the current plan, to provide choices for families much closer to home, to prevent disruption of students currently happy in their existing schools, and to accomplish this at less long-term cost than the current plan. Further recommendations relate to moving beyond school level diversity to genuinely equal opportunity within diverse schools, to more fully realizing the potential educational values of diversity and choice through staff development and accountability, and to improving the school choice process by providing better information and easier processes of exercising informed choice than are available under the current plan. The authors believe that the elementary plan can be sharply improved next fall and that review of magnets and the assignment plans for the upper grades can be accomplished the following year. They also believe that the school district needs, and is entitled to, help from housing agencies and local government, whose decisions have increased rather than minimized the challenges the school board faces. They suggest long-term improvements in enrollment management, transportation, and continuous evaluation that could provide tools to make the district more efficient and effective in important ways. From the standpoint of district parents, the authors propose to offer every family a set of choices with much better instant on-line information, a guarantee that no one will be assigned to a long bus ride, more efficient transportation, and a very serious effort to assure equal treatment for students of all backgrounds, more access to challenging academic programs, and good relations among students in the schools where they are assigned. By the second year, there would be a strengthening of magnet programs and special enrollment preference for the district's most stably integrated communities. The great majority of parents who submitted an on-time application received their first choice of schools this year and the authors expect that that would continue. There would be a strong emphasis on transparency and accountability, including an annual report on compliance and progress toward district goals. Appended are: (1) Methodology; (2) Preliminary List of Clusters; and (3) Social Science Findings about School Integration. (Contains 4 maps and 18 footnotes.)
Civil Rights Project / Proyecto Derechos Civiles. 8370 Math Sciences, P.O. Box 951521, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1521. Tel: 310-267-5562; Fax: 310-206-6293; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: University of California, Los Angeles, Civil Rights Project / Proyecto Derechos Civiles
Identifiers - Location: Kentucky