Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Universal enrollment--some benefits in New Orleans school choice

An editorial in the Times-Picayune remarks on some of the benefits of having school choice using a universal enrollment system that allows all schools to be applied to with one application. Before that was in place, there were questions about whether some charter schools were filling their places selectively, but that seems to have been resolved by the current system.
Principals' confessions to manipulating enrollment prove importance of OneApp: Editorial

"It's no surprise that some New Orleans principals try to manipulate which students they get even though their schools are supposed to be open to any child. But a new study by the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans quantifies how prevalent the practice has been. One-third of 30 public school principals surveyed during the 2012-13 school year admitted that they contrived to get higher-achieving studentsenrolled over other students. Eight of those 10 schools had no special entrance requirements and were supposed to take any student on a first come, first served basis.
To avoid students they didn't want, principals said they pressured some children to transfer, kept quiet about open seats, accepted only the best students as mid-year transfers and held invitation-only recruitment events. Neither the schools nor the principals were named in the study.
Before 2012, it was easy for a school to exclude students it didn't want. After the old public school system was mostly replaced post-Katrina by independent charter schools, children could attend any school in the city. But there was no universal enrollment system, which meant families had to apply at individual schools. If a school didn't want a child, all it had to do was claim there were no spots available.
That was a bad approach. It was a hassle for parents to go from school to school to put in multiple applications. And, as the Education Research Alliance study shows, students didn't always have a fair shot of getting into the school they wanted and should have been able to attend.
The state-run Recovery School District rolled out OneApp, a computerized enrollment system, in February 2012. That allowed parents to fill out one application and rank several school choices.
OneApp that year didn't include any of the traditional or charter schools that remained under the Orleans Parish School Board's control post-Katrina. But the wrangling wasn't confined to those schools. Five of the principals who told researchers they excluded students were under the Recovery School District.
OneApp has been refined since 2012. And researcher Huriya Jabbar said, "I don't think it's possible for schools" to do now what the principals described in the study."


And here's the story about the study: New Orleans school principals tried to pick students, study says, while here is a blog post that critiques it: EDUCATION RESEARCH ANNOYANCES IN NEW ORLEANS--THREE QUESTIONS RAISED BY ERA'S LATEST STUDY ON COMPETITION AMONG NOLA SCHOOLS

1 comment:

Peter Cook said...

Thanks for linking to my post - appreciate it.