NJ’s Public School Choice Program: an Athletic Wrinkle

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There’s a fair amount of cyber-grumbling  about an unintended consequence of NJ’s Interdistrict Public School Choice Program. Apparently, some schools, which have signed up for the program that allows schoolchildren to attend schools outside district boundaries, are recruiting athletes in order to improve sports teams. Therefore, the NJ Department of Education has instituted a new regulation that mandates that new transfers through the Interdistrict Choice Program have to sit out for 30 days, in compliance with the rules of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.

Public schools are increasing enamored of the Interdistrict Public School Choice Program, which allows them to collect tuition from sending districts and encourages competition among local districts.
From the Star-Ledger:

The choice program allows approved districts to enroll students who do not live within their boundaries at no cost to their parents, creating more school options for students and their families. There are 67 districts accepting choice students this year, totaling 3,357 students across the state. The numbers will jump to 105 districts and 4,682 students next year.

It’s a great program, providing academic options to students whose parents can’t exercise the most popular form of school choice in NJ: moving to another district. This athletic wrinkle is easily ironed out by the prompt attention by the DOE.

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