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White Student Not Enrolling in Seattle Public Schools

October 7, 1986

SEATTLE (AP) _ Fewer than half the white children living in the city are enrolling in public schools when they reach kindergarten age, school officials say.

In the past six years, just 44 percent as many white kindergartners enrolled in public schools each year as there were white children born in the city five years previous, said school district demographer Larry Collister.

For minority children, roughly the same number enroll each year in kindergarten as are born five years earlier, he added in a report released Monday.

In all, Collister said, the ″attraction rate″ computed by comparing the number of children born with the number that show up in public school five years later has fallen from 67 percent in 1969 to 60 percent last year.

Only interviews with parents can provide the answer as to why they have not enrolled their children in Seattle schools, Collister said, though the low rate for white children is apparently not related to the district’s desegregation plan.

The children are apparently going to private schools, said Mona Bailey, assistant superintendent for school operations.

″I think what we’re seeing probably is the implementation of other options (private schools) by white families, and minority families not having those options due to economics,″ she said.

She said it’s important for the district to win over white parents by improving academic achievement for all children, not just minorities.

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