Debate Over School Open Enrollment Heats Up

Debate Over School Open Enrollment Heats Up

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A debate is heating up over the idea of universal enrollment. FOX 29's Shawnette Wilson explains what that would mean for students in the district.

School Officials say a Universal Enrollment Process would save the district time and money in addition to helping parents choose the right school for their child, but some parents aren't so sure.

Groups of parents, educators and students got a closer look at what the Philadelphia School District calls universal enrollment.

The district wants to simplify its student enrollment process so that parents would have to fill out only one form to allow their child to apply to any school within the district.

Officials say the process would then help parents choose the kind of school they want their child to attend whether it is a district school, charter, or school within the Archdiocese.

Right now school choice involves several applications and deadlines. Some parents fear the district is giving up on public schools and sending parents the message to look at other options.

"This conversation takes away from investment in neighborhood public schools. What parents really want is a concentrated focus prioritization and attention paid to neighborhood schools which are really struggling, and the district needs to pay attention to that rather than tell people to get out," Helen Gym, a parent said.

"I understand why they want to do it. Will it work? I don't know. I loved the ideas they have," Ieshia Brumfield, a parent said.

"If all schools are equal and all schools are equitable you don't need to have universal enrollment. It doesn't matter what school you go to if they're all presenting the same curriculum and that's the major problem but until we get there what do we do" Clarence Pemberton, Jr., a parent said.

Advocates of the plan are also scheduling meetings with individual charter schools and parochial schools to get feedback on the plan.

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