A new report by the Foundation for Education Reform and Accountability (FERA) argues that Governor Andrew Cuomo can use public school choice to significantly improve New York’s public education system. The report outlines how a mandatory Statewide Interdistrict Open Enrollment Program would work to end the damaging practice of assigning students to schools based solely on where their families can afford to live.
Research reveals that students participating in public school choice programs experience higher academic achievement and are less likely to dropout or engage in criminal behavior. Moreover, the competition of an open-enrollment policy may usher in much-needed reforms to the system as a whole.
Like 47 other states, New York already has a form of open-enrollment written into law. However, the voluntary and permissive program is largely unsuccessful, and has proved to be more effective at erecting barriers than breaking them down. FERA’s recommendations for expanding public school choice options would immediately increase student achievement, stimulate longer-term innovation, and make schools more accountable.
Reforms to our school system can take years – even decades – to create substantial change, but our students cannot afford to wait for the slow-moving politics of states and districts. With the power to choose a better school today, our students can have a real shot at success tomorrow.