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Open enrolment Act in California Report

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Updated: Apr 24th, 2019

The open enrolment policy was enacted into law in 7 January 2010 before it became effective in April of the same year (Rho-ng & Noteware, 2011). This came into existence after a requirement from the legislation that the department of education in California should reproduce a list of 1,000 California schools that had low achievers.

These schools came to be known as open enrolment schools. The act actually required that parents with children attending either of the schools to transfer the children to other schools if the school had a good ranking in terms of performance than the former school (Kemerer & Sansom, 2009).

The aim or the purpose of the open enrolment policy was to upgrade student’s performance and to give parents the opportunity to send their children to schools of their choice. The policy was for increasing the enrolment choices that were available to the parents by removing the state’s restrictions on school enrolment.

Raffel (1998) stated that, the act prohibited the discrimination on the transfers. The main impact that resulted from the policy concerning the removal of the restriction was that parents could have a wide range of schools to choose from and therefore they could send their children to schools according to their abilities. The policy had a direct impact on the student, whereby allowing the students the opportunity for transfer to higher achieving school meant that the student’s academic performance would improve.

Secondly, the schools listed as “persistently lowest achieving,” or PI had their listing or ranking based on the federal government’s provisions or criteria. The criteria used by the federal government was found out to be based on statistics and for this reason it was not an actual representation of the situation on the ground.

Therefore, the findings were that the students were subjected to transfer in order to take them to high achieving schools but later they found themselves in a school with the low performance. The act encouraged students to transfer and this had an effect on their academic performance due to the changes of the social and physical environment.

The points of the act identified and excluded certain schools from the list of enrolment. Community schools were in this category of schools whose enrolment was below 100 test scores and juvenile court schools. The students from those schools were affected by the changes since they were in a lack of interactions from students from outside schools.

Because of the enrolment, schools were restricted in some measures and the students from those schools did not have any chance of interacting with students from high achieving schools and, for this reason, their performance on test score could not be improved.

The policy was also found to have issues of concern especially when Single Schools in the district were considered (Korgen, 2008). It was found out that the policy contained some statues, which made it not clear whether the district single schools are included on the open enrolment list or not. This, therefore, left the parents and the students in a situation when they could not make an accurate decision on matters concerning transfers and performance of these schools.

The policy was also found to have statues that affected the transfer of students whose parents either were military personnel or had served in the military. Concerning the students, the policy was found to lift the deadline on the student’s transfers if the transfer was carried out within 90 days after the application was submitted.

These clauses were therefore found to be of great benefit to this particular kind of students especially when their parents were transferred from their workstations. The policy could therefore be said that it made the transfer process of this category of students easy.

The extension of the period also allowed the parents and the students to make informed inquiry about the school that they were planning to send their children. The parents and the students therefore could make all the necessary arrangement that were necessary before the student joined the school.

Sometimes different high schools in the state had different requirements that were needed for graduation. This was found out to be a major issue that could affect transfer of students in the state of California. The open enrolment policy was found to address this issue by authorizing all the students who had applied for transfers to be allowed to complete the graduation requirements in the school of enrolment.

This was of benefit to both the parents and the students. To begin with, the students had been saved the extra work of working in two different schools at the same time and therefore they could concentrate with one school. The parents were also found to benefit from the policy by saving on the expense.


The open enrolment policy was enacted in the state of California. With this policy in place, parents had the opportunity of transferring their children from the schools that had been ranked as low performers to schools that had been listed as high performing.

The policy therefore encouraged the transfer of students from one school to another. In some cases, transfer of students is of benefit to both the parents as well as the students especially based on academic performance, and the policy therefore provided for this transfer. I hence recommend that the policy should be adopted.


Kemerer, F., & Sansom, P. (2009). California school law. California: Stanford University Press.

Korgen, K. O. (2008) Contemporary readings in sociology. California: Sage Publishing Ltd.

Raffel, J. (1998). Historical dictionary of school segregation and desegregation: The American. West Port: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Rho-ng, E., & Noteware, M. (2011). Open enrolment act got choice… what now? California: Schools Boards Association.

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