New school registration system live, will make school choice application easier
A new school registration system is available online for the 2023-2024 school year as school choice begins next month, and could help close the opportunity gap.
A bill signed last October simplifies the school registration process starting next school year, making it uniform across the board.
But Amy Solomon from Safe Schools, a group of community advocates dedicated to bringing equity to public schools, explained to Wilmington City Council Wednesday night there are still accessibility issues.
“It is overwhelming at the best of times," Solomon said. "And so that’s the streamlined enrollment system, one-stop shop, is supposed to help that, but if your constituents don’t have access to the internet or a mobile or they don’t know how to use it, it can still be very frustrating because if they go to their school thinking ‘this is how I should do it,’ it might not be documented in the most ideal way.”
Solomon also explained how school choice allows families to apply to enroll in other districts outside of their feeder pattern. She encourages families to look at the Delaware test score reports and find proficiency scores from each school.
She says Delaware’s readiness teams need to inform families about the choice process and its limitations.
“When you choice into a school that is a top rated school, everyone wants to go there, it’s going to get waitlisted because of the way that choice works," Solomon said. "You are not guaranteed the schools and you are allowed to pick three. You are never guaranteed to choice in. So if you have an ideal school, it might take you three or four years to be lucky enough to attend that school.”
Delaware readiness teams must remain neutral on school quality, but Solomon argues parents need to look at student test scores and proficiency rates to help make the best decision for their children.
She also notes half of all kindergarteners are behind the curve in basic math and language - an issue caused in part by about 20% of Delaware children living in poverty and 31% not having access to high quality learning settings prior to kindergarten.
Solomon says students not reading at grade level by 4th grade have a 90% chance of living in poverty and are 14 times more likely to go to prison.
In order to apply for school choice, a student must first be registered at their local feeder school. Public registration is open now and the school choice application begins on November 7.