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Education, Economics and Why Great Teachers Aren’t Enough

What would you do to make sure your child received a quality education? Tanya McDowell, a homeless woman, enrolled her 5 year old son, in a great school even though she didn’t live in that district. She used the address of the child’s babysitter so that her child could attend Brookside Elementary School. Now she is charged with first degree larceny because falsely enrolling her son cost taxpayers in that district over $15,000. ┬áRead more about the story here.

Here in Champaign, Illinois we have an interesting system for enrolling children in kindergarten called “Schools of Choice.” Parents indicate which five elementary schools they would like their child to attend and rank them one to five. A computer program then decides if they get their first choice or not. According to the school district, “Factors and priorities which will affect student assignments include: parent choice, building capacity, socio-economic status, availability of special programs, presence of siblings in the school, and proximity preference.” Starting in 2002 our district was under a Consent Decree to ensure that children received a quality education at all schools in the district, not just the schools in the middle class areas of town. The Consent Decree is now over but the district uses the Schools of Choice process to ensure that each child gets a quality education. Read the rest of this entry