School & District Management

In Short

December 13, 2000 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Students in the Boulder Valley, Colo., district are becoming more racially and academically stratified as a result of the district’s open-enrollment policies, a study concludes.

Researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder said the Boulder Valley schools’ public-school-choice program provides a prime laboratory for study because it touches every school in the system. One-fifth of the district’s 27,500 students take part in the program, which surged in popularity around 1995.

Since then, the researchers found, students have migrated from schools with lower test scores to higher-scoring ones and from schools with high minority populations to mostly white schools. As a result, the number of elementary schools where fewer than half the students are white went from one in 1994 to five last year.

“They’re choosing from a lottery, so it’s not that schools are ‘creaming’ from the pool,” said Kenneth R. Howe, an education professor at the university. He conducted the study with fellow education professor Margaret A. Eisenhart. “It’s that the pool itself is composed of very atypical students.”

As a result, some schools have become weaker, while others have grown stronger. Left with needier students and less funding as a result of lost enrollment, the weakest schools have entered “a spiral of decline” as their enrollments dwindle, the researchers say.

The district’s overall achievement scores, though, have not improved much—contrary to some predictions.

Still, most parents interviewed expressed satisfaction with their children’s schools.

“I think we all feel like it’s a study that needed to be done,” said Judy Stout, the district’s director of elementary education. The study was conducted at the district’s request with backing from the Spencer Foundation in Chicago.

“There have been issues around open enrollment in the community for years, and to have somebody from the outside come and gather information and give information back is very helpful,” Ms. Stout added.

— Debra Viadero

A version of this article appeared in the December 13, 2000 edition of Education Week as In Short

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Assessment Webinar
The State of Assessment in K-12 Education
What is the impact of assessment on K-12 education? What does that mean for administrators, teachers and most importantly—students?
Content provided by Instructure
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Proven Strategies to Improve Reading Scores
In this webinar, education and reading expert Stacy Hurst will provide a look at some of the biggest issues facing curriculum coordinators, administrators, and teachers working in reading education today. You will: Learn how schools
Content provided by Reading Horizons

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management From Principals, a Primer on Delivering Bad News
COVID and the upheavals of the last two years have raised the ante on often-emotional conversations with staff and parents.
9 min read
Conceptual image of balanced weighing the pros and cons.
Cagkan Sayin/iStock
School & District Management Opinion If You Can’t Maintain an Initiative, Maybe You Shouldn’t Do It
Schools are often really good at finding new initiatives to implement but aren't always good at maintaining. Here's a model to consider.
5 min read
Screen Shot 2022 01 21 at 7.57.56 AM
Shutterstock
School & District Management Schools Are Desperate for Substitutes and Getting Creative
Now in the substitute-teacher pool: parents, college students, and the National Guard.
10 min read
Zackery Kimball, a substitute teacher at Bailey Middle School, works with two classes of students at the school's theater hall on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Las Vegas. Many schools have vacant teaching and/or support staff jobs and no available substitutes to cover day-to-day absences.
Zackery Kimball, a substitute teacher at Bailey Middle School in Las Vegas, works with two classes of students at the school's theater hall on a Friday in December 2021.
Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP
School & District Management 3 Ways School Districts Can Ease the Pain of Supply Chain Chaos
Have a risk management plan, pay attention to what's happening up the supply chain, and be adaptable when necessary.
3 min read
Cargo Ship - Supply Chain with products such as classroom chairs, milk, paper products, and electronics
iStock/Getty Images Plus