DeKalb schools earn low grade for school “choice”

The DeKalb County School District earned a “D” for educational “choice and competition” from a prominent think tank that reviewed big school districts across the country.

The Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution’s annual Education Choice and Competition Index gave DeKalb high marks for closing schools with declining enrollment and for accessibility of online choice information. But the group dinged the district on numerous measures, including alternatives to traditional schools, fairness in school assignment and clarity of online performance data.

The index ranked DeKalb 66th of 112 school districts surveyed nationwide. Cobb was the highest rated Georgia school district in the report. Most in metro Atlanta scored in the same range as DeKalb. Brookings calculated that 17 percent of DeKalb students are in “alternative” schools.

Brookings relied on federal education data, responses from district surveys and other research, and did not discuss the findings with the districts before the release on Thursday. The organization says 55 percent of the nation’s largest school districts give parents a choice for where to send their children and a fifth of states let students enroll outside their home district.

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