Open Enrollment in Ohio Schools Leads to Racial, Economic Segregation in Akron and Elsewhere

Doug Livingston, Akron Beacon Journal, March 4, 2014

Open enrollment, which allows children to transfer from one school district to another, leads to widespread racial segregation and concentrates poverty in many of Ohio’s urban school districts, including Cleveland and Akron.

That’s one finding of a Beacon Journal study of more than 8,000 Ohio students who left city schools last year for an education in wealthier suburban communities.

The majority of students who participated in Ohio’s oldest school choice program are disproportionately white and middle class. Students attending the schools they left, however, are nearly twice as likely to be minority and seven times more likely to be poor.

The program gives parents the option to enroll children in nearby school districts without changing their home address. By doing so, parents must find their own transportation—an act that in itself narrows who is able to make the change.

And, at least in the case of Akron students transferring to suburban Coventry schools, there is evidence that they excel. A study of test scores shows that nonresident students out-perform Coventry children in grades four through eight.

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