Friday, January 1, 2010

Proposed changes to intra-district transfer and open enrollment policies

On the January 4 Planning Committee Agenda: Proposed changes to the policies on intra-district student transfers between schools and full-time inter-district open enrollment

Policies that affect the ability of families to transfer between MMSD schools or participate in open enrollment opportunities usually get the attention of parents, especially those who are dissatisfied with the school that their child is currently attending or the school that their child will eventually attend because of the attendance area chain.

The Equity Policy that the Board of Education approved a few years ago makes it district policy that all schools will be equally desirable, but from a parent-eye view that goal is still "in progress" at best. Some of the concerns stem from real and unaddressed issues in specific schools, others stem from parent perception of other students and families who are part of a particular school community. In still other cases, parents request transfers so that the school is closer to their place of work or meets other logistical criteria that is helpful to the family.

In recent years, we have seen increasing numbers of families transferring at the elementary level in order to get into a different middle school and/or high school attendance area. This has created new problems of disparity and resource between schools, and problems with crowding. This past year, there was discussion of whether MMSD could continue to approve transfers without consideration of the overall impact to schools and district resources.

The answer from administration appears to be 'yes,' since the proposed policies change little except for some administrative details about how transfers are managed and approved. I may reconsider this position, but as of January 1 it does appear that this is more cosmetic surgery than change. Whether it meets or supports the Equity Policy remains to be seen.

1 comment:

tjmertz said...


Again, I applaud you for raising this issue. The Equity R=Task Force report also included a recommendation that the district:

"Promote and monitor socio-economic diversity in assignments and transfers of students to schools and classrooms."

This recommendation was never discussed by the Board in open session. Never.