"A few years ago, parents here faced a bewildering array of options when selecting their children’s schools. There were more than 60 enrollment systems within Denver Public Schools alone, and another set for the city’s charter schools, each with distinct timelines and applications.
The confusion discouraged many low-income families from choosing at all, while parents with greater resources took advantage of the complexity to “game the system” in their favor, residents said.
“It did not promote equity with families,” said Karen Mortimer, a Denver public education advocate. “If you were in the know, you got the better schools.”
But four years after the Mile-High City adopted a common enrollment system that provides one-stop shopping for traditional, charter, magnet, and innovation schools, parents praise the ease and convenience of finding the right match.
Interviews with Denver parents, educators, and community groups suggest that the city’s largely controversy-free adoption of unified enrollment offers lessons for Boston, where a similar proposal by Mayor Martin J. Walsh and school leaders has met with vehement opposition from some parents.
"Since Denver and New Orleans became the first US cities to unify enrollment in 2012, several other urban communities have followed.
Of about a dozen US cities that have attempted to adopt the system, half have stalled amid political conflicts, according to Neil Dorosin, executive director of the Institute for Innovation in Public School Choice, a nonprofit group that builds and implements school assignment systems."