Tuesday, December 9, 2008

School choice in NYC

Last month I blogged about the New York City high school choice mechanism that Atila Abdulkadiroglu, Parag Pathak and I helped design. The NY Times reports on this year's version: even a well designed system doesn't remove the stress from choosing sensibly among hundreds of high school programs. Among the many ways the new system is an improvement on the old, pre 2003 system, is that families can state their preferences among schools without revealing them to the schools (so that schools can no longer adopt strategies like "only admit students who rank us first").

As the Times reports,
"Last week, more than 80,000 eighth graders submitted a ranked list of up to 12 of the city’s 400 high schools to their middle-school guidance counselors. Separately, students submit essays and other materials to individual schools, which do not know where they rank on the students’ lists. (Allison and her mother asked that their top choice not be revealed for fear it could hurt her chances elsewhere.)"

The new system also solves the congestion problem that plagued the old system; multiple applications by 80,000+ students overwhelmed the old system, but the present system uses a computerized, student proposing deferred acceptance algorithm.

HT to Parag Pathak

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