DMPS ENROLLMENT: Parents Question Policy

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More than 300 parents looking to open enroll their students in the Des Moines School District received their rejection letters Friday.

Some parents are complaining about the reasons behind their child’s rejection, some believe it could be related to the color of their skin.

The word ‘quota’ carries a negative connotation these days especially when it comes to who gets accepted by a public school.

Turns out, Des Moines Public Schools do try to meet quotas when it comes to open enrollment.

Up until five year years ago, race was a determining factor in deciding whether or not a student could open enroll in a particular school. Now race has been replaced by a student’s socio-economic status.

The school district defines that as whether or not the family is eligible for free or reduced lunch.

The school made the switch back in 2008 as a part of the schools diversity plan.

The plan states schools must keep a balance of the number of students from various backgrounds.

“It’s not just race that is a factor in free and  reduced lunch, people who qualify for that based on their income cuts across a lot of demographics,” said Des Moines Public Schools' Phil Roeder.

Roeder does mention that race and socio-economic status may be closely related but there are other factors that determine if a student can go to a different school.

During open enrollment, about half of applicants are turned away based on socio-economic status and whether a particular school is full.


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