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Open enrollment helps replace diversification efforts in Milwaukee area schools

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A 40-year-old effort to diversify public schools in Milwaukee and its suburbs is fading away.  

The Journal Sentinel says there are mixed feelings about the decline of Chapter 220, which transports youngsters of various races and ethnic backgrounds to schools throughout the Milwaukee area.  

Today, schools with available space find it better financially to use the state's "open enrollment" public school choice program to attract students from outside their districts.

Observers also note that Milwaukee's suburban population is getting more diverse. And hundreds of parents who want to use Chapter 220 are turned away as funding for the program diminishes.  

Milwaukee lawyer and former state Commerce Secretary Cory Nettles says, "part of what's happening is a reassessment of the value of integration."  

Still, Milwaukee School Board President Michael Bonds says the loss of Chapter 220 would be a step back for the area. He said the open enrollment program -- which does not have a racial component -- has undermined Chapter 220 and its specific goals for school integration.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)