School Choice | WYPR

School Choice

As we heard Wednesday in the first part of this series, thousands of Baltimore City eighth and fifth graders found out last week whether they got into the high school they hoped to attend, or whether they’re going somewhere else next year.  Jonna McKone looks at school choice is working for families in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Renaissance Academy, a high school of just over 300 students, occupies an old brick building in West Baltimore’s Upton neighborhood. It’s a community school, where students and their families can tap into everything from a food pantry to college course offerings to free hygiene products.

Flickr Creative Commons//David Robert Crews

Thousands of Baltimore City eighth graders found out last week whether they got into the high school they hoped to attend, or whether they’re going somewhere else next year. Same thing for fifth graders applying to middle schools. The policy is called school choice. In the first of a two-part series, we look at what is and isn’t working with school choice.

The theory behind school choice is that where you live shouldn’t dictate where you go to school. Just because you’re growing up in a poor area, you shouldn’t be limited to a badly performing neighborhood school.

Baltimore’s schools started their choice program in 2002 and during that same period began closing troubled schools and creating smaller high schools with specialized focuses.  The idea is to allow students and families to select the school that best fits them.