The Next L.A. / Reinventing Our Future : Education : IDEA FILE: District-Wide Open Enrollment


How It Works: Parents would be able to send their children to any public school that has a room for them. Residents of a district would have first call, then seats would be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. A lottery system could be used for schools in high demand.

Benefits: t would make more efficient use of schools with empty seats, and would help ease the crowding in some urban districts, especially in quake-ravaged Los Angeles Unified.

Short-term or long-term Impact?: Long-term.

Supporters: They say it would give families a wider choice of schools and might improve schools in some cases by encouraging competition for students and could foster greater ethnic and racial diversity in suburban schools. It would work best if coupled with a system that allowed each school to chart its own course. Thereby increasing the likelihood of every parent finding a suitable school for the needs of their children.


Opponents: They argue that unless transportation were provided, the most needy families would have the narrowest range of choices. It could create administrative headaches and cause the least desirable schools to lose money as they lose students. Political opposition from suburban residents or from advocates in inner-city schools could gut the program.

The Costs: There would be some costs to taxpayers for the county Office of Education to set up and administer the program.