Open Enrollment and Student Diversity in Ohio’s Schools

Deven Carlson: Approximately 85,000 Ohio students use interdistrict open enrollment to attend a neighboring school district. Titled Open Enrollment and Student Diversity in Ohio’s Schools, this new report examines whether these student transfers are creating more diverse schools, or possibly worsening segregation.   To assess this question, Dr. Deven Carlson of the University of Oklahoma … Continue reading Open Enrollment and Student Diversity in Ohio’s Schools

Frustrated by virtual classes, families use open enrollment to transfer children to schools with in-person learning

Annysa Johnson: Catherine Winkel was prepared for the usual back-to-school expenses. The notebooks and binders, pens and pencils, new clothes, new shoes. There was one expense she hadn’t expected: thousands of dollars in tuition to send her 7-year-old to private school where she could attend classes in person. But after the Mequon-Thiensville School District announced … Continue reading Frustrated by virtual classes, families use open enrollment to transfer children to schools with in-person learning

Commentary on Open Enrollment, the rule of law and the taxpayer supported Madison School District

Scott Girard: The Madison Metropolitan and Monona Grove school districts are applying for a waiver from the state to continue an agreement that allows up to five MGSD students to attend Nuestro Mundo Charter School beginning with each kindergarten class. The state Department of Public Instruction informed the districts in December 2019 that the agreement, which … Continue reading Commentary on Open Enrollment, the rule of law and the taxpayer supported Madison School District

Three Countries in 14 Minutes: School Choice Lessons From Abroad Vouchers, private schools, and open enrollment in France, Sweden, and New Zealand

Emily Richmond: School choice is one of the most contentious issues in K-12 education today. But it’s hardly an American invention. Sarah Butrymowicz of The Hechinger Report recently traveled to New Zealand, Sweden, and France to look at how school choice plays out, and whether there are lessons for the U.S. system. Why is New … Continue reading Three Countries in 14 Minutes: School Choice Lessons From Abroad Vouchers, private schools, and open enrollment in France, Sweden, and New Zealand

Tucson Arizona versus Columbus Ohio: open enrollment

Matthew Ladner: I believe that open enrollment is a big reason that Arizona has been leading the nation in NAEP gains, and that charter and private choice programs deserve some credit the eagerness with which districts participate. Take a look at Columbus on the above map- a large urban district literally surrounded by districts choosing … Continue reading Tucson Arizona versus Columbus Ohio: open enrollment

Open enrollment application period for Wisconsin public schools starts Feb. 6

Bill Novak: Parents who plan to send their students to a public school other than where they live can start signing up for open enrollment on Feb. 6. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction announced on Thursday the application period for open enrollment in the 2017-18 school year will run from Feb. 6 to April … Continue reading Open enrollment application period for Wisconsin public schools starts Feb. 6

Open Enrollment Survey and Data Update – Madison School District

Madison School District Administration (PDF): 1. In total, MMSD has 365 open enrollment enterers and 1294 open enrollment leavers for 2016-17; among those 1294 leavers, 58% have never enrolled in an MMSD school. 2. The net effect of open enrollment decreased by 70 students. The number of open enrollment leavers decreased by 21 students and … Continue reading Open Enrollment Survey and Data Update – Madison School District

DSST PARCC Results (open Enrollment STEM Schools)

Bill Kurtz: Today the Colorado Department of Education released results from the Colorado standardized test (PARCC) from 2014-15. We are excited that under this much more rigorous test, our schools remain some of the highest performing in the city: All of DSST’s high schools (DSST: Cole, DSST: GVR and DSST: Stapleton) rank in the top … Continue reading DSST PARCC Results (open Enrollment STEM Schools)

Commentary on Madison’s Growing Outbound Open Enrollment Count, despite substantial spending growth

Doug Ericsson: The financial ramifications are significant. A school district gaining a student receives a share of the student’s home district’s state aid to help pay for educating that student. The Madison School District will lose about $6.5 million in state aid this school year because of open enrollment, the report said. “Obviously, I am … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s Growing Outbound Open Enrollment Count, despite substantial spending growth

Group says Wisconsin open enrollment rules violate ADA

Jill Tatge-Rozell, via a kind reader: Kenosha parents whose autistic child was not admitted into Paris Consolidated School through open enrollment have joined a lawsuit that claims Wisconsin’s open enrollment rules violate federal disability law. Specifically, the suit claims open enrollment violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because it denies students with disabilities the benefits … Continue reading Group says Wisconsin open enrollment rules violate ADA

Commentary on open Enrollment & the Madison school District

Chris Rickert: Of course, public schools officials will never accept a rating system that includes a failing-grade option; some things are OK for students, but not for the people who educate them. None of these initiatives is any older than 2011, when Republicans took over complete control of the state government, but parents have been … Continue reading Commentary on open Enrollment & the Madison school District

WILL to Wisconsin DPI: Open Enrollment Process May Violate ADA, State Law

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, via a kind reader:

Today, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty sent a letter to Superintendent Evers of the Department of Public Instruction, raising serious concerns about whether the DPI is misapplying the open enrollment laws in a way that discriminates against students with disabilities in violation of state law as well as Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Explained CJ Szafir, WILL Education Policy Director, “Every school year, hundreds of students with disabilities are denied the right to open enroll by their school district. When parents appeal the decision, records and interviews with parents have shown that the DPI is not protecting the rights of those students but is instead approving the rejections without conducting the analysis that it is legally required. The whole process leaves parents frustrated, and trapped in a school district that does not serve the needs of their child.”
The purpose of Wisconsin’s open enrollment program is to allow parents to choose a school district for their child other than the school district where they reside. But, students with disabilities have their applications for open enrollment rejected at a much higher rate than those without a disability. A major cause of this disparity is the resident school district claiming that they would incur an “undue financial burden” if the child leaves the school district.

Wisconsin Public school open enrollment starts Feb. 3


Wisconsin’s public school open enrollment application period will start in February for the 2014-15 school year, according to a release.
The program allows parents an opportunity to send their children to any public school district in the state, officials said. The enrollment period runs from Feb. 3 to April 30.
Children in the state are usually assigned to public school districts based on the location of their parents’ home, according to the release. The open enrollment application period is the only tuition-free opportunity for most parents to apply for their children to attend a public school in a school district other than the one they live in.
The program is an inter-district choice program that started in the 1998-99 school year, according to the release. Wisconsin is among 12 states with inter-district open enrollment.
“Wisconsin is among a number of states nationwide that offer public school open enrollment across school districts. The state’s long-running program supports parental involvement and shared responsibility for educating children,” State Superintendent Tony Evers said in the release.

Much more on open enrollment, here.

Remember whom open enrollment serves

Chad Aldis:

Quick! Name the Ohio school-choice program that has provided students the opportunity to attend a school not operated by their resident school district for the longest period of time. Charter schools? Nope, strike 1. The Cleveland voucher program? Try again, strike 2. Unless you guessed open enrollment, that’s strike 3. Before heading back to the dugout, read on to learn more about this established school-choice program.
Open enrollment, first approved by the legislature in 1989, allows school districts (if they choose) to admit students whose home district is not their own. Perhaps against conventional wisdom, it has become a popular policy for districts. We even analyzed the trend in an April 2013 Gadfly.
According to Ohio Department of Education records, over 80 percent of school districts in the state have opted to participate in some form of open enrollment. There are 432 districts that have opened their doors to students from any other district in the state, and another sixty-two districts have allowed students from adjacent districts to attend their schools.
This year’s budget bill (HB 59) created a task force to study open enrollment. The task force is to “review and make recommendations regarding the process by which students may enroll in other school districts under open enrollment and the funding mechanisms associated with open enrollment deductions and credits.” The task force’s findings are to be presented to the Governor and legislature by the end of the year.

Much more on Open Enrollment here.

Which Madison schools are losing the most students to open enrollment?

Todd Milewski:

he number of students that have left Madison schools for other districts through the state’s public school open enrollment program has grown every year since 2005.
But which schools are those students leaving? Our graphic below uses Madison Metropolitan School District data to show the number of leavers — the term used for students who live in the Madison district but go to school in another — by which school’s attendance area they live in. (Note that the open enrollment program doesn’t apply to students who leave for private schools or to be home-schooled.)
By percentage of enrollment, the schools with the most leavers were Glendale Elementary (83, 17.5 percent), Leopold Elementary (67, 10.2 percent), Toki Middle (48, 9.4 percent) and La Follette High (121, 8.2 percent). Memorial High has the highest number of leavers at 134, but its higher enrollment put it only eighth when ranked by percentage (7.3 percent).
Of the 1,041 leavers for the 2012-13 school year, 494 were from elementary schools, 188 were in the middle school grades 6 through 8 and 359 were at the high school level.
The Monona Grove School District was the most popular destination for the leavers, followed closely by Verona and McFarland. Students left Madison for 25 districts, but data for how many attended each was not fully available because the district can’t report small numbers due to privacy concerns.

Much more on outbound open enrollment here.

Madison School District’s Outbound Open Enrollment Increases to -1206 (-836 net out)

Michael Barry (PDF):

MMSD financial results for 2012-13 were favorable in comparison to budget expectations. The General Fund Balance, which was budgeted to decrease by ($5.5) million to support several one-time expenditures, actually decreased by just ($1.6) million. This puts the District’s balance sheet in a stronger opening position for 2013-14. The primary reason for the favorable result was an unbudgeted revenue influx of $3.2 million from Medicaid reimbursements.
However, the Food Service Fund struggled in 2012-13, recording a net loss of $386,000 on total revenues of $10.5 million. Labor cost overages were the primary cause of the net loss. The Business Office is working closely with the Food Service department on budgetary expectations for 2013-14. Overall participation in the program decreased slightly last year.
Open enrollment results show 370 students enrolling in to MMSD from elsewhere and 1,206 MMSD residents enrolling outside of the district. The net out is -836. (Enrollment background data & District statistics)
(Last year, MMSD had 379 students enrolling in and 1,118 enrolling out, for a net out of -739.)

Much more on open enrollment here.
Suburban Districts vs. Madison, 1995-2012.
Madison School District: Private/Parochial, Open Enrollment Leave, Open Enrollment Enter, Home Based Parent Surveys (June, 2009).

Disabilities create hurdles to open enrollment

Emily Kram, via a kind reader email:

With a sigh, Michelle Janz put a hand to her face and flipped through a folder of letters, memos and official forms. She shook her head over the mass of paperwork accumulated in eight months.
Nex a sigh, Michelle Janz put a hand to her face and flipped through a folder of letters, memos and official forms. She shook her head over the mass of paperwork accumulated in eight months.
“It shouldn’t be this hard,” she said. “We should have a choice like any other student.”
Janz, who lives in Superior, had spent the better part of a year applying for open enrollment, facing rejection and working through the appeals process. Her goal was to enroll her son, Travis, in another school district.
During the 2012-13 school year, Travis was a special education student at Superior High School. Like a typical 17-year-old, Janz said, Travis loves computers. He also enjoys skateboarding and spending time with his friends.
“Everybody knows Travis,” Janz said. “He loves school, and he loves being around kids.”

Much more on open enrollment, here.

Madison School District Open Enrollment Leavers Report, 2012-13

Superintendent Jane Belmore (700K PDF):

For the 2012-13 school year, MMSD has 1041 leavers and 281 enterers for a net enrollment decrease of 760 students due to open enrollment.
Of the 1041 leavers for 2012-13, 663 were “continuing leavers” who open enrolled outside of the District in previous years. The other 378 leavers left MMSD for the first time this year.
The increasing number of total leavers in recent years results from many consecutive years of increases in first-time leavers who subsequently become continuing leavers.
First time leavers increased from 333 to 378 from 2011-12 to 2012-13.
About 40% of the MMSD residents who open enroll outside of the district for the first time never attended MMSD and could be considered “stayers” for other districts.
A 2009 survey of open enrollment leavers showed that personal preference led to about one third of the decisions to leave, including concerns about safety, drugs and negative peer pressure. Proximity to other districts’ schools accounts for about a quarter of the reasons for attending another district. About a quarter were related to curricular, after school or virtual programs.

Related: Much more on “open enrollment”, here, and the Madison School District’s enrollment forecast (PDF).

Open enrollment is a game changer, but not for everyone

Alan Borsuk:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in his education plan, unveiled recently, that if he is elected, he will push for policies that will allow low-income and special-needs students “to attend public schools outside of their school district that have the capacity to serve them.”
This is part of a broader Romney plan to expand school choice, including promoting charter schools, voucher programs for private schools and virtual schools.
The idea caught my eye because we already have open enrollment, as we call it around here, on a large scale. And not much attention has been paid to its impact.
Milwaukee has gotten a lot of attention since the early 1990s for its private school voucher program, arguably the most important and far-reaching such effort in the country, at least until now. But the Milwaukee area can also been seen as an important laboratory for open enrollment.

Notes and links: Open Enrollment & Madison School District: Private/Parochial, Open Enrollment Leave, Open Enrollment Enter, Home Based Parent Surveys.

Viewpoints: Open enrollment unlocks path to choice Share

Gloria Romero and Larry Sand:

Getting any school choice legislation passed in California is a daunting task. The Legislature, in thrall to the teachers unions, is unwilling to disrupt the moribund status quo, which has led to disastrous consequences for public education. But the Open Enrollment Act has jumped through various legal and political challenges and miraculously survived, though efforts are under way to have it weakened.
Included in California’s 2010 sweeping reform package, the Open Enrollment Act has received far less attention than its sister statute, the “parent trigger” law. But while the parent trigger provision requires the signatures of 50 percent of parents at a school designated as chronically underperforming by the California Department of Education, the open enrollment provision requires only one. It is efficient, simple and unencumbered by the political obstacles that have undermined parent empowerment under the parent trigger law – one parent can rise to the challenge and demand change.

Madison School District Open Enrollment Enterers & Leavers

Superintendent Dan Nerad:

Under Open Enrollment, students may transfer into an MMSD school from another district or transfer out to another district – “enterers” versus “leavers.” This report focuses primarily on Open Enrollment leavers. There is also some discussion of the net effect of Open Enrollment, which is the number of leavers minus the number of enterers. This report does not discuss students attending private/parochial schools or home schooled students.
For the 2011-12 school year, MMSD has 913 leavers and 213 enterers for a
net effect of 700 students choosing to attend a district other than MMSD.
Of the 913 leavers for 2011-12, 580 were “continuing leavers” meaning they open enrolled outside of the District in previous years. That leaves 333 first time leavers for the current school year.
The growing number of leavers in recent years is the result of a cumulative increase over several years – those who are continuing leavers are still included in our counts in the following years. Because of this, it will take time to reverse the net number of leavers and first time leavers are of particular interest.
First time leavers increased only slightly from 2010-11 to 2011-12. If we discount the one-time bump for the first class of 4K, the number of first time leavers went down for the first time since at least 2005-06.
It is also important to note that nearly half of the students that are leavers never attended MMSD and could be considered “stayers” for other districts.
In terms of why people leave the district, we rely on a 2009 survey of leavers.

Charts (10MB PDF).

More time for open enrollment

Matthew DeFour:

Wisconsin’s public school open enrollment period begins Monday, and for the first time, families will have three months to decide whether and where to enroll their students outside of their home school district.
For the Madison School District, the extra time could mean more families choosing to leave for other districts or virtual schools, though Superintendent Dan Nerad said it’s too early to know what the affect will be.
“By the nature that there’s an open window, that’s likely to happen for us as well as other districts around the state,” Nerad said.
Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation last week extending the official open enrollment period from three weeks in February to three months. Applications must be completed by April 30.
Proponents of the change, including school choice advocates and the virtual school industry, tout open enrollment as giving parents and students more control of their educational options.

Related: Madison School District Outbound Open Enrollment Applications 2010-2011 School Year; As of 3/18/2010.

Wisconsin Senate to take up Open Enrollment schools bill Tuesday

Jason Stein:

The state Senate will take up a bill Tuesday to rewrite the open enrollment law governing when students can transfer out of their home district into another district.
The bill would allow students and parents more time to request a move to a district outside their own. It would require students’ home districts to share details about any discipline problems with the outside district.
The bill has ping-ponged back and forth between the Senate and Assembly for the last year as the two houses have worked to agree on amendments.
The Senate action will come amid a busy day at the Capitol, with opponents to Walker expected to deliver more than 700,000 signatures seeking to force a recall election against him.
Supporters said the open enrollment bill would help students struggling in one district move into another one where they can thrive. Opponents argue the legislation could harm some school districts by siphoning off students to other districts, including virtual schools that rely on the Internet to help teach students in their own homes.

Open Enrollment Changing the Face of Wisconsin Public Schools

Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, via a kind Senn Brown email:

In 2010-11, a record number of students took advantage of Wisconsin’s open enrollment program to attend school elsewhere than in their own district. The 34,498 participants was 8.1% higher than in 2010 and nearly five times higher than in 2001. Open enrollment numbers varied widely, with 13 districts experiencing net outflows of more than 10% of their student populations and 34 with net inflows of similar magnitude. These findings are detailed in SchoolFacts11, the annual reference book from the Wisconsin Tax- payers Alliance (WISTAX) that provides, for every school district in the state, a wide range of information on enrollment, finance, staffing, and test scores.
In 2010-11, 4.0% of Wisconsin’s public school students attended a district other than their own. Dover (26.2%) and South Shore (23.0%) both had net outflows (students leaving less those coming) of more than 20%. Eleven other districts (Florence, Mercer, Neosho, Palmyra-Eagle, Richfield, Stockbridge, Twin Lakes, Washington-Caldwell, Wheatland, Winter, and Wonewoc-Union Center) had net outflows of over 10%.

Related: Madison School District 2009 outbound open enrollment survey. Much more, here.

Douglas County, Colorado school voucher hearings wrap up; What happens when citizens lose faith in government? 2011 Madison School District Open Enrollment Data (4.73% Leave)

Elbert County News:

Closing arguments in the case challenging the Douglas County School District’s voucher program ended three days of hearings that could halt the program in its infancy.
A standing-room-only crowd listened in Denver District Court while a legal team from the American Civil Liberties Union faced off against a team that included the Colorado Attorney General’s Office to decide the fate of the district’s school choice scholarship program.
Both sides agreed that any decision from Denver District Court Judge Michael Martinez will likely face an appeal, regardless of the ruling.
“There will be an appeal either way,” said Michael McCarthy, a plaintiff attorney representing the Taxpayers for Public Education. “What (the school district has) done is press the envelope as far as they can. For those interested in preserving public education in this state, they have got in their face as far as they can.”

More from the Wall Street Journal: Wall Street Journal:

In a bold bid to revamp public education, a suburban district south of Denver has begun handing out vouchers that use public money to help its largely affluent residents send their children to private and church-based schools. The Douglas County School District experiment is noteworthy because nearly all voucher programs nationally aim to help children who are poor, have special needs or are trapped in failing public schools. Douglas County, by contrast, is one of the most affluent in the U.S., with household income nearly double the national median, and has schools ranked among the best in Colorado. What do you think? Should vouchers only be used with lower-income students? Should they never be used? Do they violate the constitution?

Chrystia Freeland:

One answer comes from Ivan Krastev, a Bulgarian political scientist. One of Mr. Krastev’s special interests is in the resilience of authoritarian regimes in the 21st century. To understand why they endure, Mr. Krastev has turned to the thinking of the economist Albert O. Hirschman, who was born in Berlin in 1915 and eventually became one of America’s seminal thinkers.
In 1970, while at Harvard, Mr. Hirschman wrote an influential meditation on how people respond to the decline of firms, organizations and states. He concluded that there are two options: exit — stop shopping at the store, quit your job, leave your country; and voice — speak to the manager, complain to your boss, or join the political opposition.
For Mr. Krastev, this idea — the trade-off between exit and voice — is the key to understanding what he describes as the “perverse” stability of Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia. For all the prime minister’s bare-chested public displays of machismo, his version of authoritarianism, in Mr. Krastev’s view, is “vegetarian.”
“It is fair to say that most Russians today are freer than in any other period of their history,” he wrote in an essay published this spring. But Mr. Krastev argues that it is precisely this “user-friendly” character of Mr. Putin’s authoritarianism that makes Russia stable. That is because Russia’s relatively porous dictatorship effectively encourages those people who dislike the regime most, and have the most capacity to resist it, to leave the country. They choose exit rather than voice, and the result is the death of political opposition: “Leaving the country in which they live is easier than reforming it.”

Madison School District May, 2011 Strategic Plan Update with Action Plans 1.8MB PDF

Administrators Lobbying Against Wisconsin Open Enrollment Expansion

John Forester and a kind reader, via email

The SAA’s launching a last-ditch lobbying effort to try to limit the pending bill that will expand the open enrollment period. My transcription of the video alert:
Good afternoon SAA members, this is your lobbyist John Forester coming to you on Thursday afternoon, April the 21st, with a priority legislative alert on Senate Bill 2, having to do with the open enrollment application period. I need you to contact the members of the Assembly Education Committee in support of the SAA’s position on Senate Bill 2.
Senate Bill 2 was amended and passed in the Senate earlier this legislative session. The bill had a hearing in the Assembly Education Committee on April the 7th, and could be voted on by the committee as early as next Tuesday, April the 26th. The SAA is seeking to amend the bill. I have provided for you my testimony on the bill, as well as a Legislative Council memo explaining how the bill was amended in the Senate. You can find contact information for the Committee members on the left side of our website.
Now let me tell you this flat and straight. Some version of this bill is going to pass this legislative session. We are simply trying to get the bill amended to make it less objectionable. Now let me give you some information specifically regarding the bill. If adopted, Senate Bill 2 would expand the open enrollment application period from 3 weeks to the 3 full months of February, March and April. As amended, Senate Bill 2 would also create an alternate open enrollment application process that would allow a parent of a pupil wishing to attend a nonresident school district to apply to that school district if the pupil satisfies at least one of seven criteria established in the bill. Now under this alternate process, applications may be submitted outside the 3 month open enrollment window. The primary focus of our opposition to Senate Bill 2 is the last of the seven criteria in the alternate application process and it reads as follows: “The parent of the pupil and the nonresident school board agree that attending school in the nonresident district is in the best interests of the pupil.” Now because the nonresident school district, assuming it has room for more students, has a financial incentive to accept new open enrollment students, this provision of the bill essentially creates the potential for year-round open enrollment, and I know that I’ve received lots of phone calls from SAA members saying that that’s exactly what this would do. This provision would also provide difficult students and parents with one more weapon to manipulate school districts into making decisions favorable to the student and the parents.
Now we have requested that the committee solve this problem with that criteria number 7 either by deleting the 7th criteria listed in the alternate application process or by changing “nonresident school board” to “resident school board” in the bill language that was referenced earlier. Now I have been told by Assembly Education Committee members that the only way to get the bill changed to the way that we would like is for local school districts to contact the committee members and make the case. I’m doing all that I can on this bill, folks, I need your help and I need it now. So again I’m asking you, especially if the legislators that are members of the Assembly Education Committee are your legislators, please contact them and contact them as soon as possible and ask for this change in the bill. Again, some version of the bill is going to pass, what we want to do is to make the bill a little bit better for us. Again, what it really comes down to is: our response to this legislative alert is going to determine how successfully we can reshape the bill. Again thank you very much for everything you do on a daily basis for the kids here in this state. Thank you for your support and contact those legislators. This is your lobbyist John Forester signing off and Happy Easter.
[emphasis added]
It’s interesting to see the true motivations and conflicts of interest openly expressed. Now who represents the interests of children and their parents, again?

Much more on Wisconsin’s Open Enrollment program here.

Wisconsin Legislature mulls changes to open enrollment program

Matthew DeFour:

As families begin to enroll their students Monday in virtual schools or neighboring districts through the state’s open enrollment process, the Legislature is debating changes to the program.
The Senate approved a bill this week that would extend the enrollment period from three weeks in February to three months, starting this year. The bill still needs approval in the Assembly and the governor’s signature.
The changes would make it easier for parents who want to enroll their students in public schools outside their own district, but may not be thinking about that decision in February, said Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, who introduced the bill.
Democrats opposed the changes, however, saying the wider window will cause administrative hassles and uncertainty for school districts about proper staffing levels as they try to budget for the next school year.

Much more on open enrollment, here.

Proposed Changes in Madison’s Open Enrollment Policy

Dylan Pauly:

The attached proposed changes to Policy 4025 reflect the amendments to Wis. Stat. §118.51, which now permits a nonresident district to consider whether a student has been habitually truant for purposes of allowing open enrollment into the non-resident district. This change applies to students who lived in the district, moved outside of the district boundaries, and are seeking to stay in the district as a nonresident student. A second change allows a district to prohibit a nonresident student from attending district schools after an initial acceptance if the student is habitually truant during either semester of the current school year. The open enrollment period begins February 7, 2011 and ends February 25, 2011.

Much more on open enrollment, here.
Wisconsin’s 2011-2012 open enrollment application period is February 7, 2011 to February 25, 2011.

Some places’ integration seats vanish: Aid formula makes big players prefer open enrollment to 220

Amy Hetzner:

Some of the biggest players in the Chapter 220 program will not accept new minority students for the coming school year, a move likely to continue the trend of declining participation in the school integration program.
School boards for Elmbrook, Menomonee Falls and Wauwatosa, which collectively enrolled more than a quarter of all Chapter 220 students last school year, have voted to not open up any new seats to the program in the 2011-’12 school year.
The action comes as districts have increasingly favored the state’s open enrollment public school choice program as a way to attract out-of-district students – and increased state aid – to their schools.
“The reason is largely financially related,” Elmbrook School District Superintendent Matt Gibson said.
While the money that districts collect for open enrollment students comes on top of the revenue limits allowed by the state, Chapter 220 aid does not raise extra revenue for school districts. Instead, the state aid that districts receive through Chapter 220 goes toward lowering district property taxes.

Virtual makeover: Open enrollment, online schools alter education landscape

Susan Troller

Eighth-grader James Roll enjoys learning math, science, English and social studies through an online school that lets him learn at his own pace using a computer at home. But he says he likes the art and music classes at what he calls “real school” — Kromrey Middle School in Middleton — even more.
James is a pioneer of sorts, and so is the Middleton-Cross Plains School District, when it comes to computer-based, or virtual, learning.
This year, Middleton launched its 21st Century eSchool. It’s one of just a dozen virtual schools in Wisconsin, and the second in Dane County; last year the McFarland School District became the sponsoring district for the Wisconsin Virtual Academy (WIVA), which opened for the 2009-2010 school year with about 400 students and this year counts twice that many.
The two schools share several key elements: They offer a broad range of online courses, beginning at the kindergarten level and continuing all the way through high school, employ licensed Wisconsin teachers to oversee online learning, and require that students participate in mandatory testing each year.
Hughes’ obvious irritation was fueled by recent open enrollment figures showing that Madison has lost more than 150 students to McFarland, both to the Wisconsin Virtual Academy and to McFarland bricks-and-mortar schools.
Hughes expanded on his frustration in a recent piece he wrote for his Ed Hughes School Blog: “Since we have to send about $6,800 per student to districts that receive our open enrollers, this means that we’ll be cutting a (perhaps figurative) check in excess of $1,000,000 to the McFarland School District.”
But McFarland Superintendent Scott Brown says his district is only getting $300 to $350 per student per year from the online school and says the Wisconsin Virtual Academy is not necessarily poaching students from the traditional classroom. “Schools like WIVA have brought a lot of students who may not have been under the tent of public education into school districts like ours.

More options for our children is great for them, parents, business, our communities and taxpayers.
With respect to Ed’s post, providing alternative models at what appears to be substantially lower cost than Madison’s annual $15K per student expenditures is good for all of us, particularly the students.
The financial aspects of the open enrollment and alternative education models gets to the heart of whether traditional districts exist to promote adult employment or student education.
The Khan Academy is worth a visit.. Standing in front of new education models and more choices for our children is a losing proposition. Just yesterday, Apple, Inc. announced the end of hard drives for volume computers with the introduction of a flash memory based notebook. Certainly, hard drive manufacturers will be fighting over a smaller market, but, new opportunities are emerging. Some will take advantage of them, others won’t. Education is no different.

Madison School District 2010-2011 Enrollment Report, Including Outbound Open Enrollment (3.11%)

136K PDF

A few numbers:
Total District Enrollment 24,796 (The Wisconsin DPI enrollment number for Madison is 25,395).
Open Enrollment Leavers: 772
Open Enrollment Enterers: 175
Much more on outbound open enrollment here.
Tax & spending authority are largely based on enrollment.
The most recent 2010-2011 budget document indicates total planned spending of $373,157,148, which yields $15049.08 per student.

Memo to the Media on Open Enrollment: When We (The Madison School Board) Unanimously Reject a Proposal, That Means We Don’t Support It

Madison School Board Member Ed Hughes:

The Board discussed the issue. Individual members expressed concern about the 3% cap, suggesting that this wasn’t the way for us to deal with the open enrollment issue. I was one of those who spoke against the proposal. The Board voted unanimously to support the other two proposed changes to WASB policy, but not the 3% cap. This amounted to a unanimous rejection of the 3% limit. (A video of the Board meeting can be found here. The WASB discussion begins about 48 minutes in.)
From the Board’s perspective, the endorsement of the proposal regarding financial stability wasn’t seen as one that had much bearing on our district. But we’d like support from other districts on our push for a fiscally neutral exchange of state dollars, and so we were willing to support proposals important to other districts, like this one, as a way of building a coalition for fresh consideration of open enrollment issues by the WASB.
The “financial stability” proposal certainly wasn’t intended by us as a dagger to the heart of the open enrollment policy; I don’t suppose that it was ever the intent of the legislators who supported the open enrollment statute that the policy could render school districts financially unstable.
The State Journal never reported that the Board rejected the 3% cap proposal. It ran letters to the editor on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday that all seemed premised on the assumption that we had in fact supported such a cap. The Wednesday letter said in part, “[T]he Madison School District’s answer to its shortcomings is to build a Berlin wall, preventing students from leaving.” From the Thursday letter, “Unfortunately, instead of looking inward to address the problems and issues causing flight from Madison schools, the School Board would rather maintain the status quo and use the coercive force of government to prevent its customers from fleeing for what they think is a better value.” From Friday’s letter: “So the way you stem the tide of students wanting to leave the Madison School District is to change the rules so that not so many can leave? That makes perfect Madison School Board logic.” (The State Journal also ran a letter to the editor on Friday that was more supportive of the district.)

Much more on outbound open enrollment and the Madison School Board here.
I’m glad Ed continues to write online. I continue to have reservations about the “financial stability” angle since it can be interpreted (assuming it becomes law…. what are the odds?) any way the Board deems necessary. Further, I agree with Ed that there are certainly more pressing matters at hand.

Madison School Board’s vote (to limit Outbound Open Enrollment) hurts kids — and the city

Chris Rickert:

Open enrollment allows students to go to schools outside their district. If “school choice” and “vouchers” are the buzz words popping into your head right now, you’re probably not alone. When the legislation passed in 1997, it was in the same ballpark as those two old Republican saws. Open enrollment supposedly introduces choice to the public education “marketplace,” forcing districts to compete and get better.
Democrats typically see such policies as the first step toward balkanizing the public schools into the haves and have-nots, when they should be a hallmark of a society in which any kid can become president.
Open enrollment has not shown a particularly good light on Madison in recent years. More kids have been transferring out than in, with the net loss last year 435 students. The resolution the school board passed Monday calls on the state to allow districts to limit the students that could leave under open enrollment “if the school board believes the fiscal stability of the district is threatened.”
Clearly, district leaders feel open enrollment is a fiscal threat; their analysis shows it created about a $2.7 million hole in the district budget last school year.

Much more on the Madison School District’s attempt to limit outbound open enrollment here.

Madison’s Attempts to Limit Outbound Open Enrollment: A Discussion with Vicki McKenna & Don Severson

two mp3 audio files, via a kind reader’s email: 30mb. The open enrollment conversation begins at about 19:40 in this first mp3 file and continues in the second (33mb) mp3 file.
Much more on outbound open enrollment here.

Mitch Henck Discusses Madison’s Attempts to Restrict Open Enrollment

15.8MB mp3 audio file, via a kind reader.

Madison School District’s Attempt to Limit Outbound Open Enrollment, via a WASB Policy Recommendation

Fascinating: I don’t think this will help. The Madison School District 55K PDF:

WASB Policy Modifications Related to Open Enrollment Recommended changes to the current WASB resolution on open enrollment (Policy 3.77):
Current f.: The options for the districts to limit the number of students leaving the school district under the open enrollment program, if the school board believes that number is large enough to threaten the viability of the district.
Proposed f.: The option for the districts to limit the number of students leaving the school district under the open enrollment program, if the school board believes the fiscal stability of the district is threatened.
Rationale – As school districts are confronted by a combination of revenue limits and declining state aid, fiscal issues are overriding attention paid to the educational programs offered to our children. The law originally limited open enrollment transfers to 3% of a district’s total enrollment and was designed to provide parents with enrollment options for their students.
Now, districts lack the flexibility or capacity to adjust to large scale student population shifts. Districts already fiscally weakened by nearly two decades of revenue limits, and more recently, cuts to general state aids – particularly in small, rural districts – are left with the options of dissolving the district, or Draconian cuts to the educational program.
Current i.: The WASB supports a clarification in state statutes to limit the number of students enrolling in nonreSident school districts to 10 percent of the resident district membership.
Proposed i.: The WASB supports limiting the number of students enrolling in nonresident school districts to 3 percent of the resident district membership.
Rationale – The law originally capped open enrollment to 3% of a district’s total enrollment. This change returns control of open enrollment transfers to locally elected school board members. If districts choose to limit open enrollment transfers to less than 3%, correspondingly, a district would have to use the same method/policy for accepting students through open enrollment. **********
Proposed i: The WASB supports a fiscally neutral exchange of state dollars in open enrollment transfers.
Rationale – Current law requires that a sending district pay the receiving school district approximately $6,500. The $6,500 payment is the estimated statewide cost of educating a student; however, in practice this amount doesn’t really reflect the costs of educating a student in the receiving district, or takes into account the loss of revenue to the sending district.
The law could be changed by lowering the dollar amount to $5,000, or the amount of state aid per pupil received by the sending district in the prior year, whichever is less.
While the WASB supports public school open enrollment, participation in the program should not be a fiscal hardship. The current state/nation fiscal climate and local economic circumstances confronted by school districts, has dramatically changed the fiscal equation and requires modifications to the state’s open enrollment law.
Approved by the School Board of: Madison Metropolitan School District Date: 9/13/10
kt:4tf,s;:.C~ Signed: (Board President)

Related: Madison School Board Discussion: Private/Parochial, Open Enrollment Leave, Open Enrollment Enter, Home Based Parent Surveys.

The essential question: do these proposed open enrollment changes benefit students, or adult employment?

Madison School District Outbound Open Enrollment Applications 2010-2011 School Year; As of 3/18/2010

Complete Report 36k PDF, via a kind reader:

The pattern of an increasing number of open enrollment transfer applications continued this spring. As of March, 18, 2010 there were 765 unique resident MMSD students applying to attend non-MMSD districts and schools. The ratio of number of leaver applications to enterer applications is now 5:1.
It is important to note that not all applications result in students actually changing their district or school of enrollment. For example, for the 2009-10 school year although 402 new open enrollment students were approved by both MMSD and the non-resident districts to attend the non-resident district, only 199 actually were enrolled in the non-resident district on the third Friday September 2009 membership count date. Still, the trend has been upward in the number of students leaving the district.

Related: 2009 Madison School District Outbound Open Enrollment Parent Survey.
A school district’s student population affects its tax & spending authority.

Parents love it, but Wisconsin’s open enrollment option puts school districts on edge during tough economic times

Appleton Post-Crescent:

Zachary Dupland was a kindergartner at Menasha’s Gegan Elementary School when his parents split up. His dad, Eric Dupland, moved to Appleton. His mom, Tauna Carson, moved to Neenah.
As part of their custody agreement, however, they opted to keep Zachary, now a third-grader, at a school in Menasha by applying for open enrollment.
His parents felt no reason existed to uproot him from his friends and teachers, at least until middle school.
“We wanted to avoid any more dramatic changes in his life,” Eric Dupland said.
“This option has been wonderful for us,” Carson said. “It has allowed us to do just what we need to do for Zachary.”

Virtual Schools, Students with IEPs, and Wisconsin Open Enrollment

Chan Stroman:

Virtual schooling can be an educational choice with particular benefits for some students with disabilities. The recent study “Serving Students with Disabilities in State-level Virtual K-12 Public School Programs” by Eve Müller, Ph.D., published in September 2009 by the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE)’s Project Forum, and funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, surveyed state education agencies nationwide regarding their virtual K-12 public school programs:

Eleven states described one or more benefits associated with serving students with disabilities in virtual K-12 public school programs. These include:

Wisconsin School Open Enrollment Period Begins 2/1, Ends 2/19


Parents wishing to send their children to a different school district next year will be able to participate in the open enrollment program the first three weeks of February.
From Feb. 1 through Feb. 19 parents can apply for their children to attend a public school other than the one in which they live. Last school year, more than 28,000 students participated.
Participation in the program has grown each year since it began in 1998 when just 2,500 were enrolled.

Learn more about full and part time Wisconsin open enrollment here.

Wisconsin Open Enrollment Study

Amy Hetzner:

Spending more, adding extracurricular activities and increasing the percentage of students deemed advanced on state tests could help Wisconsin school districts that want to attract more students through the state’s open enrollment program.
Those are some of the main conclusions of a new study examining student transfers between 2003 and 2007 under the state’s public school choice program. [Open Enrollment SIS links.]
“There’s a lot of surveys saying parents want this or they want that, but when they actually have to take their kid and drive them to school, that reveals what they really want in a school district,” said David Welsch, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and lead author of the study, which is slated for publication in the Economics of Education Review.
Under the state’s open enrollment program, which has been in effect for more than a decade and now serves more than 28,000 students, students can attend any public school district in Wisconsin so long as there is room and they provide their own transportation. State aid – nearly $6,500 this school year – accompanies each open enrollment transfer.
One of the most striking findings in the recent study was that students were more likely to transfer from districts with higher property values and lower tax rates to districts that spend more per pupil. For every $100 difference in spending per student, a higher-spending district could expect about 1.7% more incoming transfers.

Wisconsin Open Enrollment: Part Time / Full Time.

Madison School Board Discussion: Private/Parochial, Open Enrollment Leave, Open Enrollment Enter, Home Based Parent Surveys

22MB mp3 audio file. A summary of the survey can be seen here. The Board and Administration are to be commended for this effort. It will be interesting to see how this initiative plays out.

Madison School District: Private/Parochial, Open Enrollment Leave, Open Enrollment Enter, Home Based Parent Surveys

Kurt Kiefer, MMSD Chief Information Officer [1.3MB PDF]:

This memo is a summary of the results from the surveys completed during the past school year with various parent groups whose children reside within the MMSD attendance area but receive certain alternative education options. Also included are results of the survey conducted with non-residents who attend MMSD schools via the Open Enrollment program (Le., Open Enrollment Enter).

Groups were surveys representing households whose students were enrolled in one of four different educational settings: MMSD resident students attending private/parochial schools, MMSD resident students attending other public schools via the Open Enrollment program, non-resident students attending MMSD schools via the Open Enrollment program, and MMSD resident students provided home based instruction.

The surveys were conducted between December 2008 and February 2009. The surveys were mailed to households or they could complete the survey online. Two mailings were conducted – the initial mailing to all households and a second to non-respondents as a reminder request. Total group sizes and responses are provided below.

This document will be discussed at Monday evening’s Madison School Board meeting.

Madison Schools to Deny Open Enrollment Applications Based on Income?

Seth Jovaag, via a kind reader’s email:

In February 2008, the Madison school board – facing mounting legal pressure – overturned a policy that allowed the district to deny transfer requests based on race. Before that, white students were routinely told they couldn’t transfer. Madison was the only district in the state with such a policy, which aimed to limit racial inequalities throughout the district, said district spokesman Ken Syke.
With that policy gone, Madison saw a nearly 50 percent increase in students asking to transfer, from 435 to 643.
Madison superintendent Daniel Nerad notes that Madison’s numbers had been steadily increasing for years. But he acknowledged that the policy change likely explains some of this year’s jump.
“I think we do see some effect of that, but I’m not suggesting all of it comes from that, because frankly we don’t know,” he said.
Still, Nerad has clearly taken notice. Given the new numbers, he plans to ask state lawmakers to allow Madison to deny future requests based on family income levels, rather than race, to prevent disparities from further growing between Madison and its suburbs.
Other districts that border Madison – including Monona Grove, Middleton and McFarland – are seeing more transfer requests from Madison this year, too.
“The change Madison made … that certainly increased the application numbers,” said McFarland’s business director, Jeff Mahoney.
In addition, Verona school board member Dennis Beres said he suspects many Madison parents are trying to transfer their kids from the chronically overcrowded Aldo Leopold elementary school, which is just two miles northeast of Stoner Prairie Elementary in Fitchburg.

Fascinating. I would hope that the Madison School District would pursue students with high academic standards rather than simply try, via legislative influence and lobbying, to prevent them from leaving…. The effects of that initiative may not be positive for the City of Madison’s tax base.
Related: 2009/2010 Madison Open Enrollment applications. Much more on open enrollment here.

Madison School District’s Outbound Open Enrollment for 2009/2010

648 (2.68% of the District’s enrollment) students open enrolled out for the 2009/2010 school year. 217 high school, 127 middle school and 304 elementary students. [704K PDF: pages 14, 15 and 16]
More on the history of Wisconsin open enrollment, here. Enrollment numbers drive a school district’s tax and spending authority. Wisconsin Open Enrollment website.

Wisconsin Open Enrollment for ’09/10 Closes 2/20/2009

Details available in this .xls file from the Wisconsin DPI.
A few links as the open enrollment period draws to a close:

Via a kind reader’s email.

Wisconsin school open enrollment starts February 2, 2009


Wisconsin parents who want to send their children to a school outside the district in which they live can start applying Feb. 2.
The open enrollment period for next school year ends three weeks later on Feb. 20.
The program has grown in popularity since it started in the fall of 1998. Only about 2,400 students participated that school year. But last year, nearly 26,000 did.
Parents interested in enrolling their children are encouraged to do so online at the Department of Public Instruction’s Web site. Parents will be notified April 10 about whether their request has been approved or denied.

Madison School Board Discusses its Open Enrollment Policy

One of the items on Monday evening’s (12 January, 2009) agenda includes the District’s Open Enrollment Policy [344K PDF]. Pages 5 to 7 discuss policies covering those transfering out of the Madison school district. The proposed policy change (page 6) appears to eliminate the rejection of requests based on race, an issue that was addressed in recent legal actions. Virtual schools have been another controversial aspect of open enrollment.

Madison School District Facing Class-Action Lawsuit Over Open Enrollment


he Madison Metropolitan School District is facing a federal class-action lawsuit.
An East High School parent claims a request to transfer her daughter out of the district was been denied based on race.
The class-action lawsuit, filed in federal court on Wednesday, claims the Madison school district discriminated against a white, female student who wanted to transfer from East High School using open enrollment.
At the time, in the 2006-2007 school year, the transfer request was denied because it would increase the racial imbalance in the district. It was the district’s policy at the time, but that policy was changed earlier this year after a Supreme Court ruling involving school districts in Seattle and Louisville, WISC-TV reported.
“I believe this district had a policy that was absolutely consistent with state law,” Madison Schools Superintendent Daniel Nerad said. “When there was a legal decision by the highest court of the land… that was no longer a factor. I believe the district responded very responsibly in making a change in the policy.”

Much more on open enrollment here.

Andy Hall has more:

In the 2006-07 school year, Madison was the only one of the state’s 426 school districts to deny transfer requests because of race, rejecting 126 white students’ applications to enroll in other districts, including online schools, records show.

Districts weighing costs, benefits of Open Enrollment

Lisa Sink:

The state’s open enrollment program has helped many Milwaukee-area school districts shore up their budgets, add diversity and keep neighborhood schools open amid declining residential enrollment. Ten years after the program’s creation, the number of students using it to attend the public school district of their choice – if that district has space – has surged from 2,464 to more than 23,000.
But at least two area districts are asking if there is a tipping point at which districts can accept too many nonresident students. When does it hurt a district financially to fill its schools with open enrollment students? And what is the full impact – good and bad – of the program on district budgets, buildings and programs?
The Wauwatosa School District commissioned what it believes is the area’s first financial model trying to pin down when, if ever, it makes more sense to close schools than increase the percentage of nonresident students to fill classrooms. And now Elmbrook School Board members are pushing for a similar study, as a divided board voted recently to cut nearly in half the number of new open enrollment seats that will be allowed next fall.

Part Time Wisconsin Open Enrollment

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI): Wisconsin high school students may apply to attend one or two courses in nonresident school districts, while remaining enrolled in their resident school districts for the majority of their classes. ACCEPTANCE OR REJECTION—RESIDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT No later than one week before the start of the course, the resident school … Continue reading Part Time Wisconsin Open Enrollment

Wisconsin Open Enrollment Closed to White Madison Students

Andy Hall covers a potent issue: If he lived anywhere else in Wisconsin, Zachary Walton, 12, wouldn’t have this problem. If he were black, Asian, Hispanic, or American Indian, Zachary wouldn’t have this problem, either. But he’s in Madison, where growing numbers of white students are discovering that because of their race, the state’s open … Continue reading Wisconsin Open Enrollment Closed to White Madison Students

Open Enrollment Gives Special Students More Options

Amy Hetzner: Middle school isn’t an easy time for anybody, but it was especially difficult for Jordan Johnson. His fellow students teased him about the cane he used, and his teachers frequently forgot to provide worksheets and other materials in the large type he needed because of a progressive vision loss called retinitis pigmentosa. He … Continue reading Open Enrollment Gives Special Students More Options

A Look at Wisconsin’s Open Enrollment

WISTAX: District size and peer test scores appear to be factors in student-family decisions on where to attend school under Wisconsin’s open enrollment program. These are two major findings of a new report from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX). WISTAX is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to public-policy research and citizen education. Started in 1998-99, … Continue reading A Look at Wisconsin’s Open Enrollment

Milwaukee Loses Big Under Open Enrollment

Tom Kertscher: During the first six years of the program, the analysis found, 15 suburban districts each earned more than $1 million in extra state aid because they gained more students than they lost through open enrollment transfers. MPS, meanwhile, lost more than $32 million. Four other districts – Racine Unified, Waukesha, Oconomowoc and Kewaskum … Continue reading Milwaukee Loses Big Under Open Enrollment

Wisconsin DPI releases fall student count and revenue limit information

WDPI: The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction today released information on fall student counts and school district revenue limits for the 2020-2021 school year. Wisconsin school districts, independent charter schools, and private school parental choice programs reported overall slowdowns or declines in enrollment, particularly in 4K. Districts also reported summer school participation declined by more … Continue reading Wisconsin DPI releases fall student count and revenue limit information

K-12 Tax, Referendum and budget climate: Madison School District enrollment drops by more than 1,000 students

Elizabeth Beyer: Enrollment in the Madison School District has dropped by more than 1,000 students for the 2020-2021 school, the district said Friday. The decrease in enrollment is significant compared to the previous school year when the district lost only 33 students between 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. The drop in enrollment could spell trouble for district … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum and budget climate: Madison School District enrollment drops by more than 1,000 students

Expanding Course Access (SB 789) Will Empower Families for Post-COVID Education

CJ Szafir and Libby Sobic: SB 789, which improves upon the outdated “Part-Time Open Enrollment” program — allows any elementary, middle, or high school student to take up to two courses at any other school, including public, public charter, and private. And this happens all without the student ever dis-enrolling from their school. This could … Continue reading Expanding Course Access (SB 789) Will Empower Families for Post-COVID Education

Mission vs organization: leadership of the taxpayer supported ($500m+ annually) Madison School District

David Blaska: Only 8.9% of Madison’s African American high school students are proficient in English, according to 2019 ACT scores. One of every five African American students never graduate. In math, 65% of black students test below basic proficiency, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Not to worry, the district now prohibits teachers … Continue reading Mission vs organization: leadership of the taxpayer supported ($500m+ annually) Madison School District

Administrative Commentary on the taxpayer supported Palmyra-Eagle School District (and the relevance of many smaller districts)

Chris Rickert: Five of the six other board members, all representing other local school districts, agreed. Only the state superintendent of public instruction’s designee to the board, David Carlson, voted against keeping the district open. District employees, students and community members packing the district’s middle school gymnasium where the board was meeting erupted in applause … Continue reading Administrative Commentary on the taxpayer supported Palmyra-Eagle School District (and the relevance of many smaller districts)

School choice: separating fact from fiction

Matthew Ladner: School choice is a hot topic in the United States. Private school vouchers, public charter schools, open enrollment, and homeschooling all regularly appear on the policy agenda as ways to improve the educational experience and outcomes for students, parents, and the broader society. Pundits often make claims about the various ways in which … Continue reading School choice: separating fact from fiction

School Choice Programs Continue Rapid Growth

School Choice Wisconsin: “Year over year, the Parental Choice Programs continue to grow across Wisconsin,” Jim Bender said. “Combined with public school open enrollment and independent charters, more than 12% of students are educated with public dollars outside their resident district. That number continues to increase every year.” WPCP – District limits are at 4% … Continue reading School Choice Programs Continue Rapid Growth

Notes and links: Police and the Taxpayer supported Madison School District

David Blaska: “Mainstream education is an oppressive institution,” says one supporter If I read this right, Madison police will continue to provide security and positive role models in Madison’s four main public high schools for two more school years. That is because the Madison Board of Education is not considering evicting the school resource officer … Continue reading Notes and links: Police and the Taxpayer supported Madison School District

Commentary on Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ proposed budget

WILL Policy Brief: Today WILL is releasing “A Deep Dive into Governor Evers’ K-12 Budget Proposal” that goes through nearly every single education proposal in Evers’ budget while utilizing new research as well as LFB analysis and JFC testimony. For each proposal, we explain how it impacts schools and students across Wisconsin. We dive deep … Continue reading Commentary on Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ proposed budget

“that $119 million voucher cost represents just 1 percent of Wisconsin’s $11.5 billion in total local, state, and federal public-school funding”

Vicki Alger and Martin Lueken: Secondly, Pope’s latest perennial request to the LFB asks for only the program’s costs and doesn’t ask for a single voucher program savings calculation. That omission, however, didn’t stop dozens of media outlets from repeating the ominous headline that vouchers, along with charter schools, “consume $193 million in state aid.” … Continue reading “that $119 million voucher cost represents just 1 percent of Wisconsin’s $11.5 billion in total local, state, and federal public-school funding”

Commentary on Wisconsin Voucher Spending (no mention of total spending….)

Susan Endres: “It’s important for districts and taxpayers to understand the effect of open enrollment and the movement of money that occurs there, too,” he said. “Because there are a higher number of kids who open-enroll from public school to public school than receive vouchers through the state.” Ruddy made the same connection. “I think … Continue reading Commentary on Wisconsin Voucher Spending (no mention of total spending….)

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Families leaving New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, New York

United Van Lines: Americans are on the move, relocating to western and southern parts of the country. The results of United Van Lines’ 42nd Annual National Movers Study, which tracks customers’ state-to-state migration patterns over the past year, revealed that more residents moved out of New Jersey than any other state in 2018, with 66.8 … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Families leaving New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, New York

Declining District Enrollment? Here’s a No-Brainer: Ask Why Families Left — And Listen When They Answer

Beth Hawkins: Do you want to know what happens when you pull your child out of Minneapolis Public Schools? Nothing. That’s what happens. No first-week phone call from the school office or the enrollment center. No social worker wondering if things are okay. Not so much as a multiple-choice survey asking what prompted you to … Continue reading Declining District Enrollment? Here’s a No-Brainer: Ask Why Families Left — And Listen When They Answer

Contemplating changes to Wisconsin’s K-12 taxpayer funds redistribution scheme

Molly Beck: Kitchens said the formula could be improved for school districts with declining enrollment, increasing enrollment and small, rural school districts with spending levels capped at below $10,000 per student. Olsen also funding for open enrollment and charter and private voucher schools also could be examined. “Over the years we’ve continually changed little pieces … Continue reading Contemplating changes to Wisconsin’s K-12 taxpayer funds redistribution scheme

Milwaukee’s school ‘sector wars’ move toward a new place — stability

Alan Borsuk: Private schools, most of them religious, using vouchers. The total for voucher students this year (28,702) is up a few hundred from a year ago and is edging toward a quarter of all the Milwaukee kids who receive a publicly-funded education. What a huge change from a generation ago, when the number was … Continue reading Milwaukee’s school ‘sector wars’ move toward a new place — stability

Torsten Schimanski, “The Response to the Skills Gap Issue: Apprenticeships!” 15 November Madison Event (noon) at Madison College

UW Center for European Studies: Torsten Schimanski is Director of Open Enrollment Training for the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP), a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement and success of manufacturing companies in New Jersey. Previously, Mr. Schimanski served as the Head of the Training and Learning Center for Festo Didactic, a global player … Continue reading Torsten Schimanski, “The Response to the Skills Gap Issue: Apprenticeships!” 15 November Madison Event (noon) at Madison College

Increased competition can lead to improved traditional public schools in Minnesota

Star Tribune: Alternatives to traditional public schools — namely open enrollment and charter programs — have taken hold in Minnesota in a big way. They’re so popular that nearly 1 in 6 of the state’s 850,000-plus school-age children opt out of their neighborhood schools. According to a recent Star Tribune series and data analysis called … Continue reading Increased competition can lead to improved traditional public schools in Minnesota

Minneapolis’ black families lead the way in fleeing to other schools

BEENA RAGHAVENDRAN AND MARYJO WEBSTER: Once it was the biggest school district in the state. Now Minneapolis Public Schools is the biggest loser in Minnesota’s robust school-choice environment, surrendering more kids to charter schools and other public school options than any other district. And unlike most other school districts in the state, most of the … Continue reading Minneapolis’ black families lead the way in fleeing to other schools

Rising exodus of students puts more pressure on Minnesota schools

Anthony Lonetree and MaryJo Webster: Heaser always considered herself an advocate for St. Paul’s public schools, but the East Side mother of three faced a dilemma a few years ago when her son approached middle-school age. Stick with a St. Paul public school, or join the tens of thousands of Minnesota students who leave their … Continue reading Rising exodus of students puts more pressure on Minnesota schools

Charter Schools and Milwaukee K-12 Governance

Alan Borsuk: Just when it seemed like the annual trends involving the education landscape of Milwaukee had become predictable and boring, a couple of unpredicted things happened. Around this time every year since 2008, I’ve put together a chart showing where Milwaukee children are getting a publicly funded education, sector by sector. I try not … Continue reading Charter Schools and Milwaukee K-12 Governance

Madison Student Enrollment Projections and where have all the students gone?

Madison School District PDF: Executive Summary: As part of its long-range facility planning efforts, MMSD requires a refined approach for predicting enrollment arising from new development and changes in enrollment within existing developed areas. As urban development approaches the outer edges of the District’s boundary, and as redevelopment becomes an increasingly important source of new … Continue reading Madison Student Enrollment Projections and where have all the students gone?

Waive the Waivers

Jordan Posamentier ESSA provides states with the opportunity to incentivize school districts to expand parent choice. States now have the freedom to relax their NCLB-driven state laws while incentivizing local authorities to go about improving choice in their school systems. ESSA replaced NCLB, but the law of the land leading up to reauthorization was shaped … Continue reading Waive the Waivers

2015-2016 Madison Traditional Public Schools’ Enrollment Data

Madison School District Administration (PDF): 1. Enrollment is down slightly (0.3%) since last year. Enrollment projection begin to climb again in 2017-18. 2. Six elementary schools are over capacity this year. Referendum-funded construction eliminates overcrowding among these schools in the five-year projection. 3. Most students continue to attend their home attendance area. This year 60% … Continue reading 2015-2016 Madison Traditional Public Schools’ Enrollment Data

Proposed Changes To Wisconsin k-12 Governance & Curricular Requirements

Molly Beck: The added funding comes from a $250 per student special funding stream for school districts in the second year of the budget, according to the legislation package proposed by Republican co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee. At the same time, the 1,000-student cap on the statewide voucher program would be lifted and students … Continue reading Proposed Changes To Wisconsin k-12 Governance & Curricular Requirements

Commentary on Wisconsin’s K-12 Governance model

Alan Borsuk: So now, Walker wants to go back to letting parental choice drive quality? There are those who agree. George Mitchell, a central and adamant figure in the history of voucher advocacy, sent me an email last week, saying, among other things: “If there was a true open enrollment system in Wisconsin that included … Continue reading Commentary on Wisconsin’s K-12 Governance model

The Good in Standardized Testing

Lelac Almagor: I was still in college the first time someone cried in a parent-teacher conference with me. I had found a summer job at a free enrichment program for public school students. One of our students had just taken her first-ever standardized test, a practice version of the entrance examination for an elite magnet … Continue reading The Good in Standardized Testing

Commentary on Madison’s special Education and “inclusive” practices; District enrollment remains flat while the suburbs continue to grow

Pat Schneider: That was one issue that brought together family activists who formed Madison Partners for Inclusive Education [duckduckgo search] in 2003, Pugh said. “A parent in an elementary school on the west side could be seeing high-quality inclusive expert teaching with a team that ‘got it,’ and someone on the east side could be … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s special Education and “inclusive” practices; District enrollment remains flat while the suburbs continue to grow

Madison Schools’ 2014-2015 $402,464,374 Budget Document (April, 2014 version)

The Madison School District (3MB PDF): Five Priority Areas (just like the “Big 10”) but who is counting! – page 6: – Common Core – Behavior Education Plan – Recruitment and hiring – New educator induction – Educator Effectiveness – Student, parent and staff surveys – Technology plan 2014-2015 “budget package” 3MB PDF features some … Continue reading Madison Schools’ 2014-2015 $402,464,374 Budget Document (April, 2014 version)

Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2013: MOOCs and Anti-MOOCs

Audrey Watters:

Barely a week has gone by this year without some MOOC-related news. Much like last year, massive open online courses have dominated ed-tech conversations.
But if 2012 was, as The New York Times decreed, the year of the MOOC, 2013 might be described as the year of the anti-MOOC as we slid down that Gartner Hype Cycle from the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” and into the “Trough of Disillusionment.” For what it’s worth, Gartner pegged MOOCs at the peak back in July, while the Horizon Report says they’re still on the horizon. Nevertheless the head of edX appeared on the Colbert Report this year, and the word “MOOC” entered the Oxford Online Dictionary – so whether you think those are indications of peak or trough or both or neither, it seems the idea of free online university education has hit the mainstream.
MOOCs: An Abbreviated History
To recap: in 2008, Dave Cormier coins the term “MOOC” to describe George Siemens’ and Stephen Downes’ course “Connectivism and Connective Knowledge.” In the Fall of 2011, Stanford offers open enrollment in online versions of three engineering classes: Artificial Intelligence (taught by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig), Machine Learning (taught by Andrew Ng), and Databases (taught by Jennifer Widom). In December 2011, MIT unveil MITx. In January 2012, Thrun announces he’s leaving Stanford to launch Udacity. In April 2012, Ng, along with Stanford colleague Daphne Koller, launch Coursera. In May 2012, Harvard and MIT team up for edX. In December 2012, 12 British universities partner to launch their MOOC platform, FutureLearn. And in 2013…

Madison’s latest budget spends about $15K per student.

“The notion that parents inherently know what school is best for their kids is an example of conservative magical thinking.”; “For whatever reason, parents as a group tend to undervalue the benefits of diversity in the public schools….”

Where have all the students gone?
Madison School Board President Ed Hughes:

Esenberg sets out to identify the fundamental differences between voucher advocates and opponents. His thesis is that views on vouchers derive from deeper beliefs than objective assessments of how well voucher schools perform or concerns about vouchers draining funds from public schools. To him, your take on vouchers depends on how you view the world.
Esenberg asserts that voucher advocates are united by their embrace of three fundamental principles: that a centralized authority is unlikely to be able to decide what is best for all; that families should be trusted to select their children’s schools since ordinary people are capable of making choices for themselves without paternalistic direction; and that “government does not do diversity, experimentation and choice very well.”
By implication, he asserts that voucher opponents think that a centralized authority will be able to decide what’s best for all, that families shouldn’t be trusted to make choices for their children, and that government control is the best way to foster innovation.
And there you have it. Your views on school voucher expansion are entirely explained by whether you prefer individual freedom, like the voucher advocates, or stultifying government control, like the voucher opponents. In cinematic terms, voucher opponents are the legions of lifeless, gray drones in Apple’s famous 1984 commercial and voucher supporters are the colorful rebel, bravely challenging the control of Big Brother and hurling her sledgehammer to smash mindless conformity. You couldn’t ask for a more sophisticated analysis than that, could you?
While his thesis invites mockery, Esenberg’s short article does present a bit of a challenge to voucher opponents like myself. Can we set out a coherent justification for our opposition that doesn’t depend on the facts that voucher schools drain needed resources from public schools and don’t perform any better? Sweeping those fairly compelling points aside, Esenberg asks, in effect, what else you got?

Mr Hughes anti-voucher rhetoric is fascinating on several levels:
1. The Madison School District’s long term, disastrous reading results. How much time and money has been wasted on anti-voucher rhetoric? Reading has long been job one.
2. Local private schools do not have much, if any availability.
3. Madison spends double the national average per student (some of which has been spent on program explosion). Compare Milwaukee Public and Voucher Schools’ Per Student Spending.
4. Madison’s inability to address its long-term disastrous reading results will bring changes from State or Federal legislation or via litigation.
5. Superintendent Cheatham cited Long Beach and Boston as urban districts that have “narrowed the achievement gap”. Both districts offer a variety of school governance models, which is quite different than Madison’s long-time “one size fits all approach”.
I recall being astonished that previous Madison School District administrators planned to spend time lobbying at the State level for this or that change – while “Rome is burning“. Ironically, Superintendent Cheatham recently said:

“Rather than do a lot of work on opposing the voucher movement, we are going to focus on making sure our schools are the best schools possible and the schools of choice in Madison,” Cheatham said.

Mr. Hughes in 2005:

This points up one of the frustrating aspects of trying to follow school issues in Madison: the recurring feeling that a quoted speaker – and it can be someone from the administration, or MTI, or the occasional school board member – believes that the audience for an assertion is composed entirely of idiots.

A great, salient quote. I would hope that the District would focus completely on the matter at hand, disastrous reading scores. Taking care of that problem – and we have the resources to do so – will solve lots of other atmospheric and perception issues.
In closing, I sense politics in the voucher (and anti-open enrollment) rhetoric. Two Madison School Board seats will be on the Spring, 2014 ballot. One is currently occupied by Mr. Hughes, the other by Marj Passman. In addition, local politics play a role in becoming school board President.