Warmington: Open enrollment in public schools gives parents options

If the pandemic has taught us anything about public education, it’s that parents and students need more options.

Many parents in 2020 felt trapped as the school their child was zoned to moved away from in-person learning, whether or not that was the best option for their family. If they looked into other public school options, these parents were likely disappointed to find the transfer process is, at best, a headache. In many cases, a transfer is completely unavailable. Some students are in private schools today solely because that was the only workable option available, and their families could afford it.

In the coming legislative session, Oklahoma has an opportunity to change its one-size-fits-all approach by embracing open enrollment in public schools. Open enrollment simply means kids will be able to go to any public school that has capacity to accept them, regardless of their address. State funding would follow these transfer students to their new schools, encouraging competition to provide the best outcomes.

The situation many people faced in 2020 – their zoned school was closed, but a nearby school was open – would no longer be a problem.

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