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School choice is one of the more current education reform movements in the United States, which often uses a market based approach to provide racial integration or consumer-style choices in public education in an effort to improve school quality, and sometimes both. Hartford has a robust school choice system which includes interdistrict magnet schools and interdistrict transfers with local suburban district schools. English Language Learner (ELL) students have been identified as underrepresented in these racially integrated schools. This research seeks to identify how the type of support received by Spanish-speaking Hartford parents influenced their school choices. Evidence gathered through interviews with nine Spanish-speaking parents of school age children who live in Hartford suggests that most Spanish-speaking parents who received early formal support during the school choice process were more aware of a wider range of options. Therefore, they often sent their children to higher opportunity magnet or suburban Open Choice schools. In addition, engaging Spanish-speaking parents in the early school years is important for increasing participation in the interdistrict school choice system because they are unlikely to move their children from their current schools once established.


Community Partner: The Center for Latino Progress