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Pro-Charter Group Finds Open Enrollment Among Public School Districts Helps Students in New Study

A study from a pro-charter school group shows that open enrollment in public schools helped students. In one population, their grades dramatically improved.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institutetracked 70,000 students who transferred from their home public schools to schools that admitted them through open enrollment. Chad Aldis with Fordham says, on average, students move up 2 to 4 percentiles compared to the kids who remain in their home districts.

“For African American students, we actually found the difference was 10 percentile. So that’d be the equivalent of the 50th percentile moving to the 60th percentile.”

More than 480 Ohio public school districts allow open enrollment, but Aldis says many of the top districts do not. The practice has cost some districts more than a million dollars in state funding and can result in some districts over-extending to take in more students. 

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.