Transfer Inequity

10:20 am

It’s been some time since a deep audit of the School Choice and Transfer Policy revealed glaring inequity and segregation. Yet nothing has been spoken of, as to how to start repairing this system. I like to think that the district has some long term idea to deal with this. But perhaps we could come up with some low cost/no cost mends today.

My initial idea would help parents not chosen by the transfer lottery still have some choice. The School board should recommend that after the lottery is awarded, up till the First week of School, transfers will be available, on a first come first served basis, to any schools that have room for more enrollment. Not only would this add choice it would help the schools transfered to increase enrollment before Add Back FTE time.

Anyone else have ideas that can be submitted to the School Board as short term free fixes?

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Nicole Leggett is a Peninsula K-8 Parent.

filed under: Equity, Transfer Policy

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7 Responses

  1. Comment from Terry:

    I’m not sure which inequities you’re addressing here, Nicole.

    The problem as I see it is that the dual policies of choice and transfer encourage the flow of of wealthier whiter students out of poor schools. That results in increased segregation by class and ethnicity in the schools parents flee.

    There is no quick and easy fix. Transfers should be limited to those who have legitimate grievances with the schools their students currently attend. White flight doesn’t qualify, in my book, as a legitimate grievance. Nor does a desire for some ‘specialized’ academic program.

    But first, of course, as Steve has argued, the district must supply every school with equal and comparable educational opportunities.

  2. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Terry, I can’t speak for Nicole, but what I think she’s getting at is that we can make things a little better in the mean time, at little or no cost, even if the overall transfer and enrollment system needs a major overhaul (or to be scrapped entirely).

    Right now, if you don’t win the lottery, you go to your neighborhood school (or home school, or go private). What Nicole suggests is to allow a second chance, after the lottery is over, to get into a different school that isn’t full.

    This might keep families in the district who would otherwise leave, and could help schools that are less than full gain some “add back” FTE.

  3. Comment from Terry:

    Well you know I’m an absolutist on this issue. I just don’t see how giving parents another chance to flee the ‘hood, educationally speaking, helps under-enrolled and underfunded schools at all. And isn’t that ultimately what it’s all about?

    I acknowledge that I personally don’t have a dog in this fight since both my kids are out of school. So my perspective is different.

  4. Comment from NMLeggett:

    Terry, I believe that schools that have room for more students aren’t outside of the hood. The Choicest school are already full. Leaving open schools that need enrollment and funding. Agreed the District must restructure the whole thing. I’m thinking big picture little picture. We can’t expect this reform in place for next year. I believe we can come up with feasible short term changes. Do you have any NOW based ideas?
    Nicole Leggett

  5. Comment from Terry:

    It’s not exactly “now-based”, but I firmly believe that the transfer policy ought to be rewritten to exclude requests based on unique academic programs, ones supposedly not available at local schools. (Academic transfers are in many cases bogus smokescreens for escaping low income schools.)

    That presupposes a willingness to rethink the whole notion of choice. And the political will to fund all programs equitaby.

    You know, there’s a school board election in less than a year, with the opportunity to replace three apologists for the status quo with truly progressive board members dedicated to true equity.

    That may not be short term, but that’s what it’s going to take.

  6. Comment from joe hill:

    We need to start organizing for that election now. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to run a slate of three progressive candidates on the platform of ending transfer inequities? Do any names come to mind for such a cause?

    Terry, I applaud you for being an absolutist on this issue. The dirty little secret that is not discussed is that this is a zero sum game. Each transfer of a wealthier, more stable, more prepared student out of the Jefferson, Marshall, Roosevelt, Benson or Madison communities to Lincoln, Wilson, Cleveland or Franklin not only results in an improved environment for the winners but a significantly worse environment for the losers. As Isaiah Berlin said: Freedom for lions is death for lambs.

    This is not “freedom” or “choice.” It is market fetishism.

  7. Comment from Terry:

    Well said, Joe Hill!

    The logical fallacy behind school choice is that somehow all schools will do better if motivated students are allowed their pick of schools. There is simply no evidence to support the truth of that premise.

    Choice is indeed a “zero sum game.”