Thursday, November 12, 2009

Incentives in Chicago school choice

The Chicago Sun Times reports:
"Poring over data about eighth-graders who applied to the city's elite college preps, Chicago Public Schools officials discovered an alarming pattern.
High-scoring kids were being rejected simply because of the order in which they listed their college prep preferences.
"I couldn't believe it,'' schools CEO Ron Huberman said. "It's terrible.''
CPS officials said Wednesday they have decided to let any eighth-grader who applied to a college prep for fall 2010 admission re-rank their preferences to better conform with a new selection system.
Previously, some eighth-graders were listing the most competitive college preps as their top choice, forgoing their chances of getting into other schools that would have accepted them if they had ranked those schools higher, official said.
Under the new policy, Huberman said, a computer will assign applicants to the highest-ranked school they qualify for on their list.
"It's the fairest way to do it," Huberman told the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board Wednesday."

This is the same issue that led to the redesign of the Boston school choice system.

HT Parag Pathak

update: see earlier stories on the changes in the Chicago magnet school program here and here.

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