Innovation & Improvement
What is Public School Choice?
Under the Federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), if a Title I school does not make adequate yearly progress (AYP) for two years in a row, it is said to be “in need of improvement,” and it must offer parents public school choice. Such schools must continue to offer school choice each year until they make AYP for two years in a row. Implementing this NCLB requirement depends on the availability of other schools in the district that are making AYP and their capacity to add students to their enrollment.
If there are no qualifying schools in the district that can accept students, the district must try to make cooperating agreements with nearby districts that do have eligible schools. While a neighboring district is under no obligation to enter into a cooperative agreement, it may choose to, depending on a number of factors, including its enrollment capacity.
Early Notification to Parents Regarding Public School Choice
The Illinois State Board of Education encourages school districts with Title I schools in school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that cannot exit status this year to notify parents about public school choice before the districts receive their Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) determinations. School districts can implement Early Notification until the AYP Reports are released this summer, possibly in early June. Once AYP status is known, school districts are required to send an official Public School Choice letter 14 days prior to the start of school. The Early Notification letter and the required parent notification for Public School Choice must be reviewed and approved by ISBE prior to sending.
For additional information, contact Melina Wright, Innovation & Improvement Division, 312/814-2220 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Why is Public School Choice Important?
- To improve student learning and equity
- To decrease racial isolation and improve school integration
- To increase district budgets because of increasing student population and average daily attendance
- To increase parent support and involvement in schools
- To provide alternative types of learning environments that may better match children’s needs
- To encourage the creativity of educators
- To promote focused cohesive school programs
- To spur school improvement through competition
Letters to parents regarding Public School Choice must be approved by the Illinois State Board of Education prior to dissemination. A sample letter is provided at the link below.
- Public School Choice Non-Regulatory Guidance (USDE Draft January 14, 2009)
- Guidelines for Public School Choice Letters PDF version
If you need further assistance, please feel free to contact Melina Wright, Innovation & Improvement Division, 312/814-2220 or email@example.com.