Edina Public Schools might have a high population of white students, but open enrollment is actually bringing in a substantial number of minority students, according to a University of Minnesota Law School study published last week.
The study found that open enrollment increased segregation in the metro region overall between 2000 and 2010, with 36 percent of open enrollment classified as segregative in the 2009-10 school year. By contrast, just 24 percent were integrative. The rest were race neutral.
"Open enrollment allows parents a wider choice in matching a school’s programs to a child’s needs and creates clearer competition between schools that could encourage innovation or improvement," the study reported. "Yet, open enrollment also enables moves based on less noble motivations that can accelerate racial or economic transition in a racially diverse school district."
In Edina, though, open enrollment increased overall racial diversity. While open enrollment predomenantly brought in white students from Minneapolis, Hopkins and Richfield, the report states that a substantial number—90 percent—of Choice is Yours Program students were minorities in 2009-10.
"Concerns about white flight are eased by the fact that total [open enrollment] flows into Edina actually increase the district's diversity," the report says.
Overall, 87 percent of resident Edina students were white during the 2009-10 school year.
Click on the PDF to the right of this article to read the full report. Use the widget above to see the racial makeup of each district in Minnesota.
Diversity and class issues arose most recently in a debate over whether Parkwood Knolls and property owners in Edina should be allowed to leave the Hopkins school district for Edina Public Schools.
The two school district committees that examined the issue both questioned why advocacy group Unite Edina 273 didn’t include neighboring apartments that are also in Edina. Unite Edina families countered that the request was about neighborhood schools and a sense of community—adding that they don’t think Hopkins schools are in locations that serve the families’ educational needs.
But it was nearby Minnetonka that came under particular fire in the University of Minnesota report. Minnetonka is a district that’s 90 percent white and draws primarily white students from more diverse surrounding districts, such as Hopkins and Eden Prairie. Unlike Edina, it doesn’t participate in The Choice is Yours Program that allows poor Minneapolis students—who are often minorities—to attend schools in the suburbs.
"The district is known for actively recruiting students away from its more diverse neighbors—a feature highlighted in its recent annual reports," the report stated. "The fact that most of these students are white raises the question whether it recruits and advertises as actively in racially diverse areas of neighboring districts as in predominantly white neighborhoods."