School officials to get assignment plan that eliminates zones for elementary students

An advisory committee tonight approved a proposal to replace the current school-assignment zones with a new system in which each family gets a choice of up to six schools guaranteed to include two that are at the top of standardized-test scores as well as schools within a mile of their homes.

The plan (Home-Based A) now goes to Superintendent Carol Johnson and the School Committee for their consideration. The School Committee is expected to discuss the plan at a meeting Wednesday evening.

Johnson said she will schedule community meetings to introduce the proposal, designed to bridge the gap between creating true community schools and the facct that many Boston schools have poor test scores. Past efforts to increase the number of school zones - originally as a way to reduce busing costs - foundered because no matter how officials drew the map, some families would be left in zones with no high-scoring schools.

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Keep it simple stupid

School districting should be pretty straightforward. It shouldn't take "a complex algorithm... developed by a doctoral student and professor at MIT", as the Boston Globe reports.