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Choice of SchoolsChoice/Open Enrollment
 What States Are Doing
 Selected Research & Readings

Choice of Schools
No Child Left Behind--Choice/Transfer

To one degree or another, open-enrollment policies allow a student to transfer to the public school of his or her choice. At one time, open enrollment and school choice were synonymous because other forms of school choice did not exist. But numerous types of school choice programs, such as magnet schools, charter schools, and vouchers, have since sprung up across the country and expanded the definition of school choice beyond open enrollment.

There are two basic types of open-enrollment policies in place in the states intradistrict and interdistrict. Intradistrict open-enrollment policies allow a student to transfer to another school within his or her school district. Interdistrict open-enrollment policies allow a student to transfer to a school outside his or her home district, but often require both the sending district and the receiving district to agree to participate.

Open-enrollment policies are either mandatory or voluntary in nature, depending on the state. Mandatory policies require districts to participate in the program, often depending on the availability of space. Voluntary policies allow districts to choose whether to participate, again often depending on available space.

Transportation costs and desegregation are sometimes addressed in state open-enrollment policies. Transportation costs are typically the responsibility of a parent or guardian, school district, or other entity. As for desegregation, open-enrollment policies in several states are specifically geared toward reducing racial and ethnic isolation or promoting racial integration.


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