Friday, March 13, 2015

Delay in Boston school choice this year

Here's the story in the Boston Herald: BPS apologizes 
for Boston schools lottery hang-up

"Incoming school Superintendent Tommy Chang says he wants all city parents to enroll their children in Boston Public Schools — but a glitch in the BPS lottery this spring will delay choices for many families until long after most private and charter schools have sent out acceptance letters and expect an answer.
Chang told Boston Herald Radio’s “Morning Meeting” yesterday, “I think Boston Public Schools need to be an option for all parents.”
Chang, currently a superintendent in Los Angeles schools, will take the Hub post in July pending school committee approval.
In an automated call Sunday, the district notified registrants for grades K, 6 and 9 that they won’t receive their fall assignments until early April, after the School Committee votes on March 25 whether to close Elihu Greenwood Leadership Academy, Rogers Middle School, West Roxbury Academy, Community Academy and the Middle School Academy program.
“We completely understand and apologize for the delay,” said district spokeswoman Denise Snyder. “We try very hard to coordinate our timeline for (school) assignments, understanding that families have several educational options and it’s hard for them if the results are not all aligned. ... But if we did not delay the (school assignment) round, many families could have ended up in a school that was closing.”
Jon Clark, co-director of three K-8 Brooke Charter Schools in Boston, said their school lotteries, like those of many other charter schools, are tomorrow, acceptances will be mailed the following day, and parents will have until March 18 to respond.
“We aren’t unfortunately coordinated (with Boston Public Schools) in any meaningful way,” Clark said. “If we had a common system, we could make it more simple for parents.”
Many private schools mail acceptance letters this week and expect an answer and deposit by early April."

Boston district schools use a centralized clearinghouse run by a deferred acceptance algorithm to match children to public schools, but they don't yet have a single application system that includes the charter schools, hence this kind of snafu is possible... A number of cities have coordinated the district and charter schools in a single application process, and the quote above from the charter school director Mr Clark makes me optimistic that this may be politically possible in Boston under the new Superintendent.

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