Durham, North Carolina, allows its public-school students a variety of educational choices: pupils in the district have been free to apply for any open spot at any public school. But now, it seems, that wise policy may be changed. The Raleigh News & Observer reports that a new school board proposal "would grant transfers only to students seeking certain academic programs or those who have extenuating circumstances, such as a sibling or parent at another school, or child-care arrangements in another school's attendance zone." Are you a parent who simply prefers one Durham public school to another? Tough tobacco. Board members say they're concerned about overcrowding. But they're also (and probably more) worried that the district's transfer policy causes some schools to enroll student bodies that aren't ethnically diverse, or that it, according to Board Chairman Minnie Forte-Brown, leads to "pockets of excellence" throughout the system. (Excellence? We must rid ourselves of it!) Durham is moving in the wrong direction, and if it does eventually begin plucking from schools students who explicitly picked them, the district may realize its folly when the phones start ringing.

"Durham schools rethink transfers," by Samiha Khanna, Raleigh News & Observer, May 23, 2008

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