There’s a public hearing today on a change to the Department of Education rule governing open enrollment. Department Attorney, Carol Greta, says the change is being made to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court decision that says it’s unconstitutional for schools to use race as the sole determining factor for open enrollment.
Greta says, "We’ve always had rules that allow districts to have voluntary desegregation plans based on race. But now we’ve changed that to say if you have a minority student population and you can define minority student as English language learner, socio-economic status, you come up with it."
Greta says the Des Moines, Davenport, Waterloo, Postville and West Liberty are the only ones that currently have desegregation policies they will have to amend. Greta says open enrollment has always had a statutory exception for districts operating under desegregation plans in order to prevent "white flight."
But Greta says the state now has to look at it in a different way and not base the open enrollment solely on race. Some lawmakers say they’re concerned the change could lead to more districts denying open enrollment based on the new definition. The hearing is today from two to three p.m. in the Department of Education’s boardroom in the Grimes Building in Des Moines.