Study: Wayzata, Robbinsdale Schools See Opposite Impacts From Open Enrollment
The University of Minnesota Law School study says open enrollment causes more segregation in Robbinsdale school district, but shows that white students are over-represented in Wayzata.
When it comes to open enrollment, more white students seem to be leaving Robbinsdale schools and moving to other districts, like Wayzata, leading to greater segregation between white and minority students, according to a University of Minnesota Law School study published Friday.
The study found that open enrollment increased segregation in the metro region overall between 2000 and 2010, with 36 percent of open enrollment classified as segregative in the 2009-10 school year.
By contrast, just 24 percent were integrative. The rest were race neutral.
“Open enrollment allows parents a wider choice in matching a school’s programs to a child’s needs and creates clearer competition between schools that could encourage innovation or improvement,” the study reported. “Yet, open enrollment also enables moves based on less noble motivations that can accelerate racial or economic transition in a racially diverse school district.”
In 2009-10, the study shows that 1,122 non-white students open enrolled out of the Minneapolis school district and went to Osseo, Brooklyn Center and Robbinsdale districts. However, in that same year, Osseo lost 397 students due to open enrollment to Wayzata. The study shows that 71 percent of those Osseo students were white.
Click on the PDF to the right of this article to read the full report. Use the widget above to see the racial makeup of each district in Minnesota.
"Large, diverse districts Northwest of Minneapolis are losing white students to other white districts with no compensating flows in the opposite direction," the study reports. "The pattern of losses...is troubling because it contributes to (and enables) relatively rapid racial transitions."
In the 2009-10 school year, 77 percent of the students open enrolling from Robbinsdale to Wayzata were white.
From 2000 to 2009, the "non-white shares" of enrollments in District 281 went from 25 percent to 46 percent. In Osseo, Robbinsdale and Anoka-Hennepin districts, the study says that during those nine years, school poverty doubled in each district.
But Robbinsdale district officials say that open enrollment has been the vehicle for bringing more students back to the district, despite the racial trends.
"Over the last three years, there has been a significant reduction in the difference between the number of students leaving Robbinsdale Area Schools and the number of students entering our district," Superintendent Aldo Sicoli told Patch in an email. "Robbinsdale Area Schools provides an excellent education for all students, and our goal not only is to retain our resident students - and to bring them back to their home district - but to continue to attract new students and new families, preserving the rich diversity and educational excellence we currently enjoy."
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