Arizona Capitol Times: Public school open enrollment needs to be truly open

Originally published by Veronica Ragland, a mom and education advocate who lives in Phoenix, on February 19, 2021 in the Arizona Capitol Times.

Navigating Arizona’s Public School open enrollment process for my children has been confusing and frustrating for years. Nine years ago, I applied for a variance with three central Phoenix school districts so that my daughters could go to school near where I worked.  My older daughter received a variance; my younger daughter did not.  Although they are in different grades, the reason was clear – my younger daughter requires special education resources, and the three districts were afraid to receive her.

Each of the school districts boldly published their open enrollment status on their website and even welcomed me to complete variance paperwork. Then, like a punch in the gut, I received approvals for one and denials for the other…

Not only does SB1685 say that it is no longer acceptable to be arbitrary and capricious in student selection, but that public school districts need to be transparent and accountable. This would help public schools evolve into the institutions of learning that they are intended to be to all students.

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