When diversity is a goal, school choice can be a powerful tool for integrating schools—and many schools across the country are successfully using it for just that purpose. From charter schools that use weighted lotteries and strategic recruitment in Denver, Colorado; to a controlled choice plan that replaces attendance zones with parent choice and a diversity-conscious algorithm in Louisville, Kentucky; to inter-district magnet schools that mix urban and suburban students in Hartford, Connecticut, the trails for a positive integrative role for choice-based schools are being blazed all around us. Creating and maintaining integrated schools through systems of public school choice, however, requires careful planning and thoughtful, sustained effort on the part of education leaders and school communities.
In this video, experts on school integration, including TCF researchers as well as leaders and teachers from diverse public schools, discuss some of the key strategies and considerations needed to create and sustain a racially and socioeconomically diverse student body in a choice-based public school setting—whether a charter school, magnet school, or any other school that builds its student body using lottery-based enrollment rather than a defined attendance zone.
The strategies described in this video are presented in more detail in a toolkit for school and district leaders, “Recruiting and Enrolling a Diverse Student Body in Public Choice Schools,” which is part of a series on strategies for creating successful diverse schools that includes two other toolkits: “Integrating Classrooms and Reducing Academic Tracking” and “Fostering Intergroup Contact in Diverse Schools.”