yes. every k⁠i⁠d. releases roadmap for el⁠i⁠m⁠i⁠na⁠t⁠⁠i⁠ng exclus⁠i⁠onary school boundary l⁠i⁠nes ahead of 70-year ann⁠i⁠versary of Brown v. Board 

May 9, 2024

May 9, 2024

New report creates a pathway for states to end public school discrimination based on home address by 2030 

(ARLINGTON, Va.)Today, yes. every kid. released a new policy report on how every state can end discriminatory public school district boundary lines by 2030. To honor the 70-year anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education on May 17 – which declared separate public schools for students of different races unconstitutional – states have an opportunity to enact policies that end restrictive practices in education. The report shines light on all 50 states’ current open enrollment policies – policies that empower students to attend school in districts outside of the boundary lines they are assigned to – and outlines actionable policies states can emulate. 

The report notes that 24 states make it a crime for families to enroll their children in a public school using a shared address. Therefore, the report makes the recommendation for 34 states that do not have mandatory open enrollment policies to urgently enact legislation ensuring that a child’s opportunity is not limited by their address.   

Students are currently assigned to a school based on where they live, and de facto, their family’s wealth, which reinforces racial and economic divisions. School boundaries often mirror the effects of redlining practices dating back to the 1930s. This archaic practice prevents families from accessing the public schools that best meet their children’s needs.  

The report recommends that states should enact the following three policies: 

  • Prohibit Discrimination Based on Residential Address: All states should include language that explicitly prohibits states from discriminating against students based on their residential address.  
  • Decriminalize Address Sharing:  In 24 states, parents and guardians can still be jailed for crossing school or district boundary lines, with districts often hiring private investigators to follow parents to ensure that they meet the residency requirements. These states must pass legislation to ensure that parents will never be criminalized for accessing a school outside of their attendance zone.  
  • Create Mandatory Open Enrollment: The 34 states that do not have mandatory open enrollment must change their laws and policies so that all districts must accept out-of-boundary students. This will decouple family income from learning opportunities.

Open enrollment policies can be a powerful tool in ensuring a child’s opportunity is not limited by their home address. Families across the nation are signaling their desire for more options, with 75% of Americans supporting families to access any public school in their state, regardless of home address or socioeconomic status.  

“All students deserve access to any public school, regardless of their home address,” said Halli Faulkner, report lead author and yes. every kid. senior legislative drafter. “The path to giving families the option to access the public school that meets their kids’ needs will not be easy, but this report gives each state real steps to get there.”  

“Families deserve access to a great education for their children, regardless of their income or home address,” said Kelley Williams-Bolar, a parent who was punished for trying to get her children a better-fit education. “When I enrolled my children in a safer school district with better resources using my father’s address, I was arrested and put in jail. Enrolling your child in a public school should never be deemed a crime, and I’m glad to see tangible ways states can ensure that no other families experience the injustice that we faced.” 

The report builds on the February launch of the No More Lines Coalition, a group of nearly 50 nonpartisan education groups committed to opening public school access for all students, ending address discrimination, and ensuring that public education is free while unbundling education and the housing market. More on how the No More Lines coalition will expand access to a great education for all students can be found here

“Every day, children are denied access to a public school that works for them simply because they do not live in the right neighborhoods,” said yes. every kid. Chief Operating Officer Erica Jedynak. “The report outlines how states can remove barriers to learning opportunities so public schools will truly be public, no matter a family’s socioeconomic status. This roadmap equips states with an opportunity to empower families to access the school which best meets their children’s unique needs.” 

The full report can be found here

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yes. every kid. supports policies that respect the dignity of every student, welcome innovative ideas and foster a diversity of approaches to learning. yes. every kid. will support and build coalitions to advance new conversations and bold visions by bringing together differing voices and perspectives to revolutionize the K-12 education experience.