Document Type



Recent years have seen the rise of new public school options in many of America’s metropolitan areas. Privately run charter schools, magnet schools that draw their attendees not only from different municipalities but also different neighborhoods, and open enrollment plans that allow children to attend school in another public school district entirely are changing the face of public education in America. The neighborhood public school, which long defined both the primary and secondary educational experience for most Americans, has become only one of many options available.

Reforms in the urban public education system have come in response to dismay about the decline in urban public school quality, as well as the legal and social pressure generated by the increasing segregation of low-income, minority students in city public schools. Policy attacks on segregation have focused on two main fronts: on school segregation itself, with attacks on the system of neighborhood-based schools as perpetuating racial separation, and on the underlying problem of residential segregation that creates segregated schools through neighborhood-based assignments.

Date of Authorship for this Version

May 2007