Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Updates on school choice

Some recent articles look at school choice in several American cities, including some (Denver, New Orleans, DC) where IIPSC has helped out, and some that are contemplating a unified school choice system.

Detroit Needs Universal Enrollment for District and Charter Schools, Report Says
"Creating a one-stop shop where Detroit families can enroll in both district and charter schools would help families navigate what has become a very complex school-choice system. That's at the heart of a series of recommendations made in a report commissioned by Excellent Schools Detroit, a nonprofit devoted to improving the city's schools."

How Parents Experience Public School Choice
By Ashley Jochim, Michael DeArmond, Betheny Gross, and Robin Lake

From the executive summary:
"A growing number of cities now provide a range of public school options for families to choose from. Choosing a school can be one of the most stressful decisions parents make on behalf of their child. For all families, but for some more than others, getting access to the right public school will determine their child’s future success. How are parents faring in cities where choice is widely available?
"Parents experience school choice differently in different cities. Differences across the cities suggest parents’ perceived challenges and opportunities with choice vary depending on where they live.

"In Denver, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C., parents were more likely than parents in the other cities to say their school systems were getting better. In Philadelphia, only 11 percent of parents reported having a positive outlook about the public education system, compared to 65 percent in D.C.

"However, a generally positive outlook does not necessarily mean that families are satisfied with their public school options. Denver parents were most likely to report having another good public school option available to them, but parents in Philadelphia, New Orleans, and D.C. reported the most challenge finding a school that provided a good fit for their child.
"Cities have made uneven investments in the systems that support parent choice. Parents’ experiences with choice are likely shaped by the systems and supports put in place by policymakers, including access to information about schools, the enrollment process, and transportation options.

"Denver, D.C., and New Orleans have made the most progress in investing in these systems. However, we saw little consistent evidence linking specific investments with positive outcomes, which may simply be a reflection of the newness of the investment or may indicate the need for these cities to
go further into developing these supports.

"In Denver, parents who enrolled their child after implementation of the common (sometimes called “unified” or “universal”) enrollment system, which enables parents to apply to all charter and district schools via a single application, were less likely to report struggling with enrollment processes. Yet, in New Orleans, parents were more likely to report problems after the introduction of common enrollment. "

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