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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACTMonday, November 12, 2012 B. Jason Brooks, Director of ResearchOffice: (518) 383-2598; Cell: (518) 383-2598
Using Public School-Choice Options to Improve Student Performance
Gov. Cuomo’s Education Reform Commission could create an unprecedented new expansion of high-quality school options by proposing statewide open enrollment policy
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo could dramatically break through the logjam of failededucation reforms and immediately improve the quality of education provided to thousands of New York students by allowing new transfer options for students from failing schools to attend better-qualityschools. A statewide open enrollment public school-choice program, outlined in a new report from theAlbany area-based Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability, shows how.“Chronically-failing schools, which are overwhelmingly concentrated in low-income urbanneighborhoods, are one of the primary causes of the income- and racially-based performance gapsgenerated by New York’s educational system,” said B. Jason Brooks, Director of Research for theAlbany-area foundation. “A lack of choice among quality public school choice options, and no sign of a‘silver bullet’ coming to deliver the reform needed to remedy the state’s education ills, there appears to beno end in sight to this educational neglect. Fortunately, other states – and some pockets here in NewYork – have shown how disadvantaged students can benefit from open-enrollment policies providingwithout a requirement of significant new public funding.”Mr. Brooks added that a recommendation for an innovative open enrollment policy by Gov.Andrew Cuomo’s New NY Education Reform Commission, which completed hearings across the statelate last month, would stand in sharp contrast to the typical repeated calls for more funding without realaccountability by offering a dramatic expansion of public school choice options to all students.The report,
School’s Open! Expanding Interdistrict and Intradistrict Open Enrollment at PublicSchools in New York State
, identifies how a new mandatory Statewide Interdistrict Open EnrollmentProgram could be created to permit parents to choose among multiple better-quality schools located inand outside of their district lines, ending the practice of assigning students to schools based solely onwhere their families can afford to live.
(Summary offered below, with link to full report)
Research shows significant benefits for students participating in school-choice programs: higher academic achievement; system-wide reforms spurred by competition; reduced criminal behavior; lower dropout rates; increased diversity at participating schools; and, increased parent satisfaction. An open-enrollment program also would take another step toward New York’s court-ordered mandate of a policyof educational equality.State legislatures’ move toward open-enrollment policies is due in part to the ability to createalternative quality options for students in failing schools without requiring significant new publicspending. As of 2011, 48 states have some form or multiple forms of open enrollment in place. Since2010, five states (California, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, and Virginia) have adopted laws establishingnew open enrollment programs and six others (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, andWisconsin) have expanded existing open enrollment programs.