Friday, December 12, 2008

School choice in Belgium

Estelle Cantillon, a leading market designer working in Belgium, writes in LeSoir about the current school choice situation, following the withdrawal on Wednesday of the current system of school-specific lotteries and waiting lists: Mixité : le tirage au sort n'est pas le problème, il pourrait même faire partie de la solution ('the lottery isn't the problem, it could be part of the solution'). She notes that this system was heavily gamed; because you couldn't be sure your child would be admitted to a given school, you had to apply to many schools, so the waiting list system was congested and the allocations were random.

She has organized a conference on the subject in Brussels in January, at which the new, strategy-proof designs in Boston and New York will be described. As she puts it in her column "Parents shouldn't have to break their heads" to try to get their kids into a school.

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