Open Enrollment Isn’t Making Hopkins Schools More Segregated

While it’s segregating white students from minority students in neighboring districts, it’s actually diversifying Hopkins.

Hopkins is among the few school districts in the state where open enrollment is not leading to greater segregation between white and minority students, according to a University of Minnesota Law School study published Friday.

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 Hopkins, though, open enrollment increased overall racial diversity. While 77 percent of open enrollments out of the district were white in 2009-10, just 60 percent of those coming in were white. 

Overall, 71 percent of resident Hopkins students were white.

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.

Still, Hopkins is not immune from the effects of segregative trends. Most of the students leaving the district—or nearly two-thirds of those open enrolling out—went to Minnetonka and Edina. Of those, 89 percent were white.

Diversity and class issues arose most recently in a debate over whether Parkwood Knolls and Walnut Drive 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 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 (and Hopkins), 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.”

Open enrollment plays a key part in Hopkins’ financial health and has helped mitigate declining enrollment. This year Hopkins saw a 3.18 percent increase in open enrollment into the district, all the net benefit for the district has been shrinking as open enrollment out of the district has increased.

Superintendent John Schultz said each family’s enrollment decisions is so personal that he couldn’t speculate on why so many white students are leaving or why open enrollment is increasing diversity at Hopkins as opposed to other schools.

“That’s a real tough question to answer. You’d have to ask the parents,” he said, adding that open enrollment out of the district is a concern whatever the race of the students. “It’s worrisome whenever a student leaves the district.”


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coach joe January 17, 2013 at 06:20 PM
James Warden "On Patch you are. Feel free to share your thoughts — whatever they may be." These are my thoughts. As i posted before,this is the very begining of the problem,it will become much much worse ,I myself have a inside look at the direction this will lead to. If you should choose to surpress your feeling that's your choice. I think it's healthly to actually vent my true feelings other then to hold them back. Ask a student in HNJ High how many drugs are avalible and used,hopfully you will get a honest answer.I'm pretty sure 90 percent of the drugs are comming in from the hood.
Womanhearmeroar January 18, 2013 at 08:15 PM
I welcome the open enrolled families into the Hopkins School District who are making the effort to drive their kids to school five days per week just like those families who are open enrolling out of Hopkins are doing! If they are making that effort, education is obviously important to them, and they will stress that at home to their children. I have a problem with the 1,000-2,000 kids in TCIYP who are filling out a form and putting their children on a free (taxpayer funded) bus into the Hopkins District! Before TCIYP, Hopkins had really high test scores and use to be in the top five schools in the state. Now their test scores compared to those of other metro school are on the lower end of average. If the parents are not pushing the importance of education at home, the kids do not care. I don't want my child bored and not liking school, because the teachers have to teach to the lowest common denominator. I have spoken with teachers on how this works. When you put lower performing kids in groups with higher performing kids, the higher performing kids get frustrated and do all the work themselves leaving the lower kids with little to no gain.
Womanhearmeroar January 18, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Coach Joe, I hear you. I've heard the stories of the increase in gangs and theft at the junior high and high school levels. I've asked kids from Hopkins High School about these kids. The answer: they keep to themselves and don't interact with the ones living in the district much. They are not going to Cub Scouts or getting involved in the band, orchestra or drama clubs, since they have to get on a bus after school to go back to NE Minneapolis. They are not building relationships with the kids who possibly could be good influences on them, because they spend probably one hour each way on a bus to get here. They are building relationships with the kids in their neighborhood on their bus, but not with those who actually live in the district. I do not call this integration although it might look good on paper! The real result is the lower test scores due to parents not pushing education at home, stories being told around the district about the increase in gangs and theft at the junior high and high school levels, and ultimately parents open enrolling into Edina, Minnetonka, and Wayzata. Those three schools just happen to have some of the highest test scores in the state! Patch could dig into this much deeper!
coach joe January 20, 2013 at 03:01 PM
"Makes sense for them" why wouldn't it make sense for them to attend a better school, more and better scholorship programs, free lunches,free transportation, If the schools in NE need better teachers and better schools then thats what should be done.Or spread these children out evenly between all shcools instead of hopkins taking the lions share.Also close the schools down in NE and have them all come out to the burbs so us parents out here can teach these kids how to be civilized and responsible because their parents can't do it in NE.
Brad Koehn February 02, 2013 at 01:33 PM
Is it better to spend all that money (to say nothing of kids' time) on bussing rather than on high-performing, talented teachers? So Hopkins has increased diversity, so what? That's one measure of success, but what parents are (correctly) concerned about is the impact of open enrollment on the goals the parents have for their kids. If a parent doesn't value diversity as highly as other criteria that have suffered under open enrollment (e.g., juvenile crime), then they're right to voice their concerns. The problem with these programs is that there doesn't seem to be a way to determine whether or not they're successful, but it's easy to determine how much they cost.


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