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 14, 2013 at 11:29 PM
We are at the very beginning of this, I am not one to wait until it's to late. "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.” We are not allowed to talk about the real reasons,
James Warden (Editor) January 15, 2013 at 01:18 AM
On Patch you are. Feel free to share your thoughts — whatever they may be.
Womanhearmeroar January 15, 2013 at 03:52 PM
What they are not saying is that the number of kids coming into Hopkins from NE Minneapolis through The Choice is Yours program has skyrocketed! That is where Hopkins is getting all of its diversity. The number of kids from NE Minneapolis is over 1/7 of the population! I believe it is actually much higher than that, but the information has disappeared from the Internet in the last few years. It use to be easy to access. The number is well over 1,000 and possibly closer to 2,000. Isn't the total school population only around 7,500. Maybe Patch can do some digging to report on the current numbers. This will answer your question.
Stan Berris January 15, 2013 at 05:14 PM
I would also like to see where Minnetonka is at implementing the diversity program for their district. A few years ago they were required to participate in the integration programs by the State and "recruit" minority students into the Minnetonka school district. They were given the possibility to implement a plan on their own or join the West Metro Education Program (WMEP). A task force was created with a partnership from Hopkins School District and they were provided with many recommendations including the option to join WMEP. To my knowledge, they haven't done anything! How can they get away without having to spend the same about of money, time and effort that other school districts must spend? It is not voluntary - it's the law!
Stan Berris January 15, 2013 at 05:21 PM
As for Hopkins, we are very fortunate to have the open enrolled students in our district. They have allowed us to maintain programs, staff, and educational opportunities by providing the additional funding to our school district. We also receive many benefits in having a diverse student population in our schools. This is something we can be very proud about and I am glad that Hopkins Schools took on this challenge many years ago and developed programs that are considered one of the top in our State. It would be hard to find another school district that works so hard in trying to reduce the achievement gap and provide a better quality of education for all of our students!
Mark Jones January 16, 2013 at 12:30 AM
Interestingly enough the number of non-resident students in Edina is now over 15%. Some of these students are from Hopkins, whose parents have complained so vociferously about open enrollment on these pages. Apparently what is good for the goose is not good for the gander. So open enrollment is ok for them to get out of a school district that they do not like but not ok for those wishing to attend Hopkins from a school district they do not like!
coach joe January 16, 2013 at 04:12 PM
The difference is that i'm not asking for a free bus ride for my children,I'm not asking for scholarships for sports,lunches,field trips,etc ,etc. I'm not bringing into the schools,lice,bed bugs,cockroach eggs on my shoes. My kids are not going steal,cheat,lie,disrupt classes. Your heart can bleed all it wants mark but mine is made of steel. If you do not have enough money for your kids to play sports or eat,,GET A JOB. Pay taxes ,take a shower and clean your house. These poor children with lazy parents do not mix in well with families who work thier tails off and are pulling all the weight.
mtka_soccer_mom January 17, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Whoa Coach Joe, where is all this stuff coming from! You should seriously consider some therapy to help deal with your anger. This is the Hopkins Patch not some Fox News blog forum. Lets keep it civilized! My children are happily study in Hopkins schools and have not been infected by any of the ghastly things you suggest. By the way most open enrollment families are from good families, the reason they chose open enrollment is because they care about their kids enough to choose a school that made sense for them!
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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