The School Committee entered into an agreement with the Bureau of Educational Opportunity to voluntarily desegregate the Lowell Public Schools effective June 11, 1987 through a controlled school choice assignment plan. Controlled choice was designed as a strategy to increase the effective participation of low-income and minority children, while stimulating every school to be productive. Controlled choice has four main objectives:
All students in the Lowell Public Schools shall be assigned in a manner which assures equal opportunity regardless of race, national origin, sex, language background, or residency in a desegregated, multicultural, pluralistic learning community.
Students in the English Language Learners program and special education program are to be assigned to appropriate components at appropriate school locations, followed by the assignment of all other students by means of centralized enrollment in such a way that each school reflects the percentage of majority and minority in the school system (plus or minus 10%) inclusive of English Language Learners programs. This percentage is revised on an annual basis to reflect the overall current percentages of the school system.
To help insure racial balance, English Language Learners programs were placed in many schools, including schools located in areas with a high non-minority population.
The controlled choice plan divided the City into three zones. A parent/guardian may choose schools from within the zone in which he/she lives; or he/she may select any of the citywide schools, or citywide schools (See Documents & Forms, Lowell School Zones).
In compliance with the Voluntary Desegregation Plan, school assignments are made based on available school capacities, desegregation mandates, and family preferences.