School choice

By - 3/25/13 - 12:38 pm

IMAGE( first round of lottery assignments for students in Boston Public Schools went out last week. Some parents were overjoyed that their children would be going to the schools they preferred; others (probably, including the lady whose child didn't get into his first 9 choices) were faced with disappointment.

But, worry not, parents! You have another option - Simply move!

By - 3/13/13 - 9:25 pm

The School Committee tonight voted to approval an overhaul of student assignment for elementary schools that will give parents a choice of six schools - at least two of which have to have among the highest standardized test scores in the city.

The new system, which will go into effect in the 2014-2015 school year, will end the city's current three-zone system - and walk zones.

Students already in the system will be grandfathered in their current schools.

By - 2/25/13 - 10:21 pm

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.

By - 2/5/13 - 7:57 pm

The Dorchester Reporter gets a copy of his letter to the advisory committee looking at changes in how to assign students in lower grades to public schools.

By - 2/4/13 - 9:17 pm

All of Boston's minority legislators and city councilors today asked a committee looking at ways to change the way students are assigned to public schools to hold off a planned vote next week on a recommended method.

The letter, delivered today to the External Advisory Committee, comes on the eve of what is supposed to be a last chance for parents to hear the latest proposals - one in which the city would be split into ten assignment zones and two with no zones but at least two possible schools with good test scores.

By - 1/22/13 - 6:49 pm

Because Boston doesn't have enough quality schools, the External Advisory Committee on School Choice tonight released three proposals to try to give as many elementary-school students a shot at entry to one of the ones it does have: A proposal to split the city into ten assignment zones and two that would do away with zones altogether but let parents apply to either six or nine schools that include at least two that have standardized test stores near the top of city rankings.

By - 12/13/12 - 7:17 pm

The formal announcement comes tonight, BPS tweeted, and removes a potential objection to rezoning by parents who already have kids in a Boston public school. School officials had earlier said they were considering lifting grandfathering - in which younger siblings are given preference at schools their older brothers and sisters already attend.

By - 12/12/12 - 7:26 am

The Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics produced this video to support its proposals to rejigger school-assignment zones for elementary and middle-school students: If you totaled up all the miles students in the Bowdoin/Geneva area travel to school each morning, it would be the equivalent of a trip from Boston to Cheyenne, WY (the city has used Bowdoin/Geneva as its poster child for its proposals throughout the current evaluation process).

What the brief video doesn't mention, however, is that the city plans to turn one of the neighborhood's schools, the Marshall Elementary, into a privately run charter school, open to students from across the city, which means the city will have to bus many of its students, and which means one less local option for Bowdoin/Geneva parents.

Teresa Harvey, retiring Marshall principal, tears into school officials at a School Committee meeting over the conversion to a charter school:

Boston School Choice - Background on proposals to change school-assignment zones.

By - 11/30/12 - 7:31 am

A task force looking at ways of revamping how Boston kids get assigned to elementary and middle schools says it needs more time to let experts from Harvard and MIT run simulations and analyses of various options, from no assignment zones at all to 23.

The External Advisory Committee on School Choice had originally hoped to have a proposal to city official by year's end, but the mayor's office announced yesterday the committee would continue its work through at least January:

By - 10/27/12 - 12:31 pm

A BPS advisory committee is now considering a plan in which low-income students would get a better shot at elementary schools selected by their parents as a way to deal with the fact that too many Boston schools don't measure up, the Globe reports.

By - 10/18/12 - 8:48 pm

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council weighs in on the Boston school-zone process, basically says there are just not enough decent schools in Boston no matter how you slice up assignment zones. Their report has copious maps and charts.

By - 10/5/12 - 12:42 pm

The Gray Lady reports on the current school-zone issue as if it's all still about racial desegregation in a system that's now 87% minority instead of the fact that it's really in reaction to the fact that too many of our schools still aren't anywhere near as good as they should be, at least not until down near the end of the story.

By - 10/4/12 - 7:35 am

BPS handout. Photo by Bob Goodman.BPS handout. Photo by Bob Goodman.

Boston school officials last night proposed a limited grandfathering plan that could leave hundreds of families scrambling to get kids to two or more different schools under the major changes in assignment zones proposed to start in 2014.

By - 10/3/12 - 10:00 am

ConnollyConnollyRather than simply expanding the number of school-assignment zones, two city councilors and four state representatives today proposed giving elementary students seat in a school in their neighborhood - but with a network of citywide magnet schools for parents dissatisfied with those schools.

The plan is an alternative to plans now under discussion by Boston school officials to expand the current three assignment zones to six or nine (school officials have also published maps of zones with 11, 23 and no zones, but have said those would fail to allow for school choice in a system that continues to have educational inequalities). City Councilor John Connolly, who chairs the council's education committee, Councilor Matt O'Malley and state representatives Linda Dorcena Forry, Nick Collins, Ed Coppinger and Russell Holmes unveiled their proposal this morning at the State House.

By - 10/3/12 - 7:48 am

The Globe reports the Boston School Committee tonight is expected to get a recommendation from Superintendent Carol Johnson on how to grandfather thousands of students who might find themselves in new school assignment zones come the fall of 2014.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at school headquarters on Court Street downtown.

By - 9/30/12 - 12:12 am

Researchers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education have taken a first look at the proposals to redraw school assignment zones and say students in some zones would have more access to good schools than others.

By - 9/24/12 - 5:58 pm

Boston Public Schools officials formally released five possible plans for re-aligning assignment zones for elementary and middle-school students today, but promptly said three of the proposals - for 11 or 23 zones or pure neighborhood schools - were too extreme for the goals of ensuring quality education with a diverse student population.