Eligiendo Escuelas: English Learners and Access to School Choice

Students at Computers

Using data from Houston Independent School District (HISD), researchers examined English learner participation in a system of school choice. Specifically, researchers investigated the extent to which never, current, and former English learners enrolled in a non-zoned HISD school.

The Houston Independent School District, the largest school district in the state, “prides itself on its many and varied school choice options for students,” according to its website. In addition to a student’s so-called neighborhood school, or zoned school, the district has magnet programs, charter schools and other options that allow a student to attend a non-zoned school.

In this study from the Houston Education Research Consortium, researchers found that, in HISD, current English language learners were significantly less likely than their peers to attend non-zoned schools. The pattern did not hold, however, for former English language learners who were just as likely to attend non-zoned schools as students who had never been classified as English language learners.

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