The Open Choice program arose out of the Sheff v. O’Neill lawsuit – as part of a settlement that now allows urban students to enroll in suburban schools and vice versa. Currently providing equal education access for 423 students throughout New Haven County, ACES is a nonprofit and regional education service center that has administered Open Choice for the New Haven area since its inception in 1998.
Despite access to an equal education, many Open Choice families live very far away from their schools and are low income, making it largely impossible for students to participate in after-school programs, extracurricular activities, or summer school unless their families can provide transportation. To address structural inequities faced by Open Choice students, the organization seeks to: fund transportation to permit student extracurricular participation and assure families can attend events and parent/teacher conferences; increase professional development on diversity and respect for Open Choice teachers; and bolster the college preparation for Open Choice students through guidance counselor training and individual college counseling. These additions will enable Open Choice to create meaningful racial and socioeconomic equity and open the door to increasingly integrated schools and school systems that provide excellent educational opportunities for all students.