As the school choice debate becomes more polarized, Robin Lake urges education leaders to doube down on working across sector lines.
Today's city school landscape is far more complex than ever before. In an effort to bring coherence and transparency to the complicated school choice process, some cities have begun to launch common enrollment systems.
Common enrollment (also referred to as universal or unified enrollment) allows families to fill out a single application with a single deadline for any and all schools they wish to apply to, whether district or charter. It’s meant to cut down on the confusion and stress of choosing a school and to assure families that the application process will be fair.
Our research looks at how common enrollment systems fit into a larger effort to make school choice work for families. As this work moves forward, we see significant need for city education leaders to better understand 1) the implications of specific design elements, such as schools’ criteria for priority enrollment, assuring students a neighborhood assignment, and individual timelines for applications; 2) how to support parents in making choices in a cost-effective and sustainable way; and 3) how to make more productive use of the enrollment data.
Our most recent work on common enrollment:
This report examines the implementation and early results of common enrollment in Denver and New Orleans, two cities with very different demographics and educational landscapes, and the first two cities to launch such systems. The report provides important lessons and essential guidance for these cities as well as others thinking about implementing common enrollment.
Using application data from the city’s SchoolChoice system, CRPE evaluated Denver’s school choice process. Through this analysis, we learned that much work remains to be done to satisfy Denver families’ demand for quality.