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Published by Derek Flowers

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Published by: Derek Flowers on Dec 07, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Phone: (518) 383-2598
Fax: (518) 383-2841
4 Chelsea Park, 2
Floor, Clifton Park, NY 12065
 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACTMonday, November 12, 2012 B. Jason Brooks, Director of ResearchOffice: (518) 383-2598; Cell: (518) 383-2598
Open Enrollment:
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.
 - 2 -
  New York is home to a variety of local open enrollment programs, the largest and mostsignificant being the interdistrict program in Rochester and intradistrict programs in Buffalo and NewYork City. The local effects of these programs, while generally positive, are limited and beg for the broader application of a statewide open enrollment policy that would benefit all New York, noted Brooks.While New York does have a voluntary and permissive open-enrollment law on the books, it isone of the least effective in the nation due to the significant barriers it leaves in place for students wishingto transfer public schools, including allowing the application by receiving the public schools of significanttuition costs, screening of students by receiving districts, and a lack of transportation funding for transferring students.# # # # #Attachment:Summary of 
School’s Open! Expanding Interdistrict and Intradistrict Open Enrollment at Public Schoolsin New York State
[full report available online atwww.nyfera.org]
* * * * *
The Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability (FERA) is an independent, nonprofit, researchorganization dedicated to improving education in New York State by promoting accountability, stimulating innovation, and supporting school-choice efforts across the state.

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