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Minneapolis Schools - The Key is Choice

For several years now Minneapolis Public Schools have been emphasizing the need for students to have a choice in which school they attend. Giving the students and the parents a hand in the decision making process gives the family a sense of ownership. The student will feel he or she has, by making this very important decision, invested in a scholastic future. And it is the invested student who is more likely to stay in school and more likely to become a contributing member of society.


Recently the board of education of Minneapolis Schools has decided to take its emphasis on choice a step further and extend the idea to all students and all schools. Students will no longer elect to make the choice, but will be required to express their wishes before school assignments are made. Minneapolis Schools are in mostly uncharted territory here and although the idea of choice has been working well in the district, mandatory choice will present its own problems.


Choice in Minneapolis Schools- The Reasons Behind It


Minneapolis Schools have been pushing the idea of school choice for several reasons, not the least of which is a defense against school vouchers. But there are broader, more far-reaching ideas behind this latest movement. For one, Minneapolis Schools are seeking to create more diverse institutions. By allowing students a choice as to which school they want to attend, the district is hoping that students will elect to travel outside their attendance area which may be an ethnically or racially homogeneous area. By allowing students choice, Minneapolis schools may be able to overcome years of legally and culturally imposed segregation.


Another reason Minneapolis Schools are pursuing the idea of school selection is to broaden the number of schools which are considered rigorous. If a more diverse population is represented at each school, then the degree of rigor at each school can be standardized. This will allow for a more equitable school experience across geographic, racial, social, and economic boundaries.


Minneapolis Schools- Who Gets to Choose?


With the new initiatives in place every new ninth grader will have to make a choice about which school to attend. Of course more students may choose to attend a particular school than there are openings. The new criteria for choice in Minneapolis Schools will break down according to preference. The following factors will be considered in preference:


1. Students who attended a middle school which feeds directly to a certain high school will be given preference.


2. Students whose Minneapolis Schools attendance area is in direct proximity to the chosen high school will be given preference.


3. Students whose siblings attend a certain high school in Minneapolis Schools will be given preference to also enter that school.


4. Students whose demographic is underrepresented in a particular high school will be given preference.


Choice in Minneapolis Schools- Is It Worth It?


Like it or not, this is the direction that Minneapolis Schools are heading. Although school choice may have some drawbacks, its positive aspects far outweigh the negatives. Just make sure to assess all factors and choose wisely.


Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit Minneapolis Public Schools


Source: www.isnare.com