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 compares current segregation levels across Ohio’s 600 plus school districts to a counterfactual in which all students attend their home district (i.e., no open enrollment). Based on his analysis of Ohio Department of Education data for the 2012–13 to 2017–18 school years, the following findings emerge.
Ohio school districts are highly segregated by race. As of 2017–18, 70.0 percent of Black students would need to change districts to achieve an even distribution (that is, each district’s enrollment would reflect the state average of Black students). Segregation levels in Ohio are higher than the national average where 61 percent of Black students would need to relocate.