Every year thousands of American kids are unfairly or illegally turned away from public schools. Hear their stories and how we are fighting back on their behalf.
That's the top line at the site for Available To All, a new (sort of) outfit founded (maybe) and headed up by Tim DeRoche, author of A Fine Line: How Most American Kids Are Kept Out of the Best Public Schools.' DeRoche started out at McKinsey, then spent some time in the investment world before spending 20 years as an independent business consultant. Along the way he wrote a best-selling retelling of Huck Finn and produced/wrote a PBS kids science series (Grampa's Garage)
A Fine Line came out in 2020, and was praised soundly by Tony Miller (former Deputy Secretary of Education under Barack Obama), Lester Hiner (EdChoice), Gregory McGinty (Broad Foundation), Mona Davids (founder NYC Parents Union) and Corey DeAngelis (choice cheerleader for hire). DeRoche spent five years researching and collecting stories for the book, which hits on many of the themes that we find in ATA, in particular focusing on educational redlining, the practice of drawing lines so that districts include the Right Students. That can include old district lines and the modern practice of seceding from a district, what I once called white flight without the actual flight.
When exactly was Available To All born? That's a bit fuzzy. The Internet Archive Wayback Machine finds a version of the site in November of 2021. Same text as current front page, different design, no links to other pages, and an invitation to "Sign up now for updates as we move toward our launch in early 2022." In August of 2022, the archive finds the familiar front page, but none of the inside pages show up at that time. On his LinkedIn profile, DeRoche dates his founding of ATA from January of 2023, by March the inside pages show up, and on his LinkedIn page, DeRoche posts "Today we launch Available To All" and says he'll be suspending his consulting biz to run it.
Characterizing itself as a "watchdog group" (and not, say, a PR operation or a website), The ATA position is pretty simple:Our mission is to ensure the public schools are available to all on equal terms, as promised by the Supreme Court. Public schools of all types--traditional, charter, magnet--should have admission policies that are simple, fair and transparent. We believe it is vital for our social contract that the best public schools be accessible to families of all backgrounds.