Friday, December 10, 2010

THE ‘REAL’ PUBLIC SCHOOL CHOICE PROGRAM: Parents can seek transfers from under-performing schools + LAUSD Students Seeking Transfers Need to Apply Now

Parents can seek transfers from under-performing schools


December 9, 2010 - Parents of Los Angeles Unified School District students interested in transferring their children out of under-performing schools have until Dec. 17 to complete the Choices application with the district.

Each year, more than 422,000 LAUSD students are eligible to transfer out of their low-performing schools through a mostly unknown federal program called the No Child Left Behind Public School Choice.

The program is available to families with students who attend local schools that have not met federally mandated targets for two consecutive years, and are designated program improvement schools or at-risk for program improvement status. The schools generally have low student scores on state standardized tests and are not improving at expected rates.

Under the program, families can transfer their children to schools that meet federal academic targets with free transportation provided by the district.

Despite the window of opportunity offered each fall through the LAUSD’s Choices program, few students participate. In fact, less than one percent of eligible LAUSD students applied for the program during the 2009-10 school year.

“Parents with children in program improvement schools need to know that they have options,” said Oscar Cruz, vice president of Families In Schools, a nonprofit organization that works to involve parents and communities in children’s education. “LAUSD and [Families in Schools] are working together to ensure that parents understand that they have options, which can have an enormous impact on their children’s future.”

According to the school district, parents are often unaware they have the choice to move their child to a school that meets academic standards.

“Knowledge is power for parents too,” said Monica Garcia, LAUSD school board president. “All parents have the right and responsibility to know what options are available for their child. We must work together to reach every family.”

The Choices brochure was mailed to the homes of LAUSD students around the second week of November. Those who didn’t receive the brochure can request a blank application at their child’s school, the local district office, or at any Los Angeles City Public Library.

“It is important for parents to identify the best learning environment for each of their children, each school year,” Cruz said. “Applying for [this program] is one way to ensure you have school options.”

Parents interested in learning more about the No Child Left Behind – Public School Choice program can visit the LAUSD website at

They can also call a toll free information line at (866) 747-2275.


LAUSD Students Seeking Transfers Need to Apply Now

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December 9, 2010 -- Dec. 17 is the last day for students interested in transferring to another school for the 2011-2012 year through Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) Magnets and Permits With Transportation (PWT) programs to apply.

PWT programs are the LAUSD’s two main options for students seeking integrated educational experiences, and grew out of a 1975 California Supreme Court order that required the LAUSD to take steps to “alleviate the harms of racial isolation.”

Students can apply to transfer to one of the District’s 169 Magnet schools, which offer specialties ranging from math/science/technology and architecture/digital arts to the performing arts, humanities, medical/biological or environmental sciences, music, law/police studies and more. Others include programs for gifted/high ability and highly gifted students.

Permits With Transportation (PWT), which provides school bus transportation, offers another opportunity for voluntary integration. Students applying from a specific “sending” school area in the LAUSD may be assigned by the District for integration purposes to a specific “receiving” school with available classroom space. School assignments are determined using the criteria of classroom space, integration requirements and transportation patterns.

Under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, all school districts are required to provide Public School Choice (PSC) as another educational option available for parents of students attending Program Improvement (PI) schools.  NCLB-PSC offers students enrolled in a school identified as “At-Risk for Program Improvement” (PI), or a PI school listed in the CHOICES brochure, an opportunity to attend a non-PI school. District-paid transportation is provided for students participating in the NCLB-PSC program.

Full information about the District’s court-ordered voluntary integration programs Magnet and PWT, and the federally mandated NCLB-PSC Program, can be found in the CHOICES 2011-2012 brochure, which all parents or guardians of students enrolled in kindergarten through the 11th grade at an LAUSD school, should have already received in the mail. It contains printed information specific to the student, and is also available in Spanish and several other languages.

The application is located on page 17 of the booklet. Blank applications and booklets are also available at local schools, libraries and District offices for parents who did not received the booklet or who may reside in the LAUSD but do not currently have a child enrolled in an LAUSD school.

Applications must be delivered or postmarked by Dec. 17. For more information, contact your local school or go online to

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