Washington, DC – The National Black Caucus of State Legislatures (NBCSL) recently ratified a policy resolution encouraging state governments to adopt open enrollment policies to allow students to enroll in any public school program in the state no matter where they live.
The resolution, titled “Enhancing Educational Opportunities for Students,” encourages state governments to “examine policies that improve educational achievement by providing additional options for students in their state to enroll in public schools and educational programs throughout the state without regard to the student’s residence.”
The resolution was sponsored by Tennessee State Senator Raumesh Akbari and was ratified in December 2022 at NBCSL’s 47th Annual Legislative Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“All students should have access to an excellent public school education,” said Senator Akbari. “That is why I was proud to sponsor this model policy for NBCSL. Public school open enrollment gives children greater access to educational opportunities regardless of where they live.”
The resolution highlights how public school open enrollment helps provide access and opportunity to students, especially for disadvantaged students who have few, if any, education alternatives.
Public school open enrollment policies have also been critical to dismantling the historical injustice of “redlining,” which segregated communities and created educational inequities that continue to disproportionately impact African American families.
Alabama State Representative and President of NBCSL, Laura Hall, said, “As a longtime educator, I take pride in enacting policy to help students access better resources to advance their education. This resolution allows students in our states to choose to enroll in school regardless of where they live, which is important in providing opportunities to students that may not have those same opportunities if they were limited to their school zone based on where they live. NBCSL is proud that we were able to accomplish such an important educational milestone during our conference resolution process and we encourage our legislators to take this concept to their state legislatures.”
Angela Williams, former Colorado state legislator, member of NBCSL Corporate Round Table and now Senior Director of External Affairs at Stride, Inc., a leading provider of K-12 education and adult learning, said, “Parents want access to excellent education and equal opportunities for their children to succeed. I applaud Senator Akbari and the leadership at NBCSL for adopting this important policy resolution, and I encourage all state legislators to enact and expand public school open enrollment in their respective states.”
Stride, Inc. is a premier member of NBCSL’s Corporate Roundtable (CRT), and Ms. Williams is an Officer of the CRT, serving as a Member At-Large.
NBCSL is the nation’s premier organization exclusively serving the interests of African American state legislators. With more than 700 members collectively representing over 60 million Americans, NBCSL serves as a national network, advocate and catalyst for public policy innovation, information exchange, and joint action on critical issues. Visit nbcsl.org to learn more.