Supply-side economics, school-choice-style

New York City is known for its public-school-choice
programs, particularly at the high school level. Students may test into a
number of specialized schools (like Stuyvesant or Brooklyn Latin) or try their
hand at the lotteries for small learning communities (like Robeson), charter
schools (like Harlem Village Academy), and transfer schools (grades 10-12 schools
for at-risk students, like Harvey Milk). But a labyrinthine application process,
voluminous yet murky information
available to parents, and 78,000 students applying for placement each year (for
perspective, that’s the total K-12 enrollment in the District of Columbia), means a
good number of applicants end up disappointed on “match” day. For the 2010-11 school
year, Gotham failed to place about 10 percent of its students in one of their preferred
schools (students could select up to twelve), forcing them to enroll at a less desirable
neighborhood school. Fundamentally this is a supply problem: Gotham needs more
great schools. In the meantime, however, the city’s residents need information aimed
at students and parents—especially those from disadvantaged communities—information
both about school choices and about how the process works.

Lost
in the School Choice Maze
,” by Liz Robbins, New York Times, May 6, 2011.

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