The Greenville County Schools’ school choice program has been recognized as the seventh best in the nation by the 2014 Education Choice and Competition Index (ECCI) compiled by the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings. The school system boasts the state’s largest school choice program, with more than 10,000 of its 70,000 students attending school on choice.
“I am extremely proud of our extensive school choice program, which has provided many and varied options for our students for decades and has continued to expand with new offerings in our schools,” said Superintendent W. Burke Royster. “This national recognition speaks highly of our efforts to be innovative and flexible in meeting our students’ needs and helping them prepare for future success in their chosen fields of study.”
Greenville County Schools offers a wide array of choices for parents and students, including magnet academies, change in school assignment, career centers, Fine Arts Center, Sterling School, International Baccalaureate, and virtual options.
According to the report, “Greenville, SC has made improvements in the display of information relevant to school choice on its website, and made it easier for parents to express their preference for a school outside their child’s default assignment (by address).”
Beginning last year, Greenville County Schools revised the Change in Assignment Choice lottery process for students wishing to change schools. Parents complete a Change in Assignment request form for up to three schools. All requested forms are entered into a database and a computer-generated lottery selects names at random. Lottery results are posted on the district website, requiring parents to enter a password to access results. Information is communicated to parents through a direct mail brochure, district website, social media channels, School Messenger, and local media.
Other school districts in the top ten serve some of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas such as New Orleans, New York, Washington, DC, Houston, Denver, Tucson and Chicago.
The Brown Center surveys districts annually to determine offerings and fair funding. The intent of the annual report is to create public awareness of the differences among districts in their support of school choice, provide a framework for efforts to improve choice and competition, and recognize leaders among school districts in the design and implementation of choice and competitive systems.