Sunday, February 22, 2009

School choice in England, continued

School choice, a frequent subject on this blog, is a vexed question around the world. In Britain, the Telegraph reports, Children allocated school places on 'roll of a dice': Thousands of children must take part in random lotteries for school places in a Government attempt to break a middle-class stranglehold on the best schools.

"Schools in a quarter of council areas are allocating places by lottery or "fair banding" – in which the school uses test results to deliberately select a proportion of pupils of poor ability.
The move could cause difficulties for affluent families who have dominated successful schools by buying houses within their catchment areas, often paying a premium of tens of thousands of pounds.
Last year, Brighton became the first area to allocate places at all oversubscribed schools through lotteries after Government reforms gave councils and schools the power to do so. The policy is designed to make all state schools truly comprehensive by ensuring they contain pupils of mixed abilities and social backgrounds, rather than being dominated by those who can afford to live nearby."

It turns out that in New York City, where my colleagues and I helped design a high school choice system, some schools ("Educational Option Schools") also require that a full range of student abilities be represented.

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