The Effects of Open Enrollment on School Segregation: An exploration into the impact and policy potentials

This thesis provides a parallel analysis of open enrollment programs in three western cities – New Orleans (USA), Denver (USA), and Milan (Italy).
Each of these cities were chosen because of the diverse ways in which open enrollment were introduced into their public school systems. New Orleans established their open enrollment program in reaction to the disaster the city faced after Hurricane Katrina.
Denver has one of the oldest school choice programs in the United States, but it was only recently that the city implemented a universal enrollment program to make the process more accessible.
Milan on the other hand, has been practicing open enrollment since the mid -1990’s when the national government decided to decentralize the school systems. Each of these cases are explored and the results of the open enrollment program are analyzed using the Dissimilarity Index, which measures unevenness of tracts in relationship to the whole. Finally this quantitative data is supplemented with personal interviews from leaders, teachers, and activists who are involved in the local communities. Combining the quantitative analysis with the qualitative input allows for this thesis to conclude with a model of policy management and application that uses the influence of the state government and the investment of the local actors to best present practices for open enrollment implementation.
Keywords: open enrollment, school choice, school segregation, dissimilarity index, integration


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