Updates on the Kindergarten Lottery

Couple things going on – not much of my own content, but mostly from others.

Alison provided a copy of the Lottery Algorithm. Although I had taken stabs at this in the past, it is really nice to see an “official” document about the process. What I really like about this document is that it gives more explanation about the idea behind low-SES priority. However it does not divulge how many “points” that is worth.

Socioeconomic Integration

The Champaign Community School District’s controlled choice student assignment plan is designed to promote socioeconomic diversity.  This is accomplished by ensuring that each elementary school has an equitable distribution of low and non-low SES kindergarten students.  To achieve this purpose, an elementary school is considered to be socioeconomically integrated when its kindergarten enrollment has a percentage of low-SES students that is within a variance of plus or minus 15 percentage points of Districtwide percentage of low-SES kindergarten students.

Identifying At-Risk Students

The early identification of children who are most at-risk of not performing to their fullest potential when they enter elementary school is a key component of this student assignment plan.  The early identification and appropriate placement of at risk children has been the cornerstone of American educational reform since the publication of James S. Coleman’s Equality of Educational Opportunity in 1966.

1966… wow. I can see this identification of “At-Risk” being offensive to some, controversial to others. At the heart of the matter, I think this is a good thing. In my opinion this is the good side of Socialism at work. And to the extent that I understand it, I completely agree with it.

In other news (literally, News-Gazette), Jodi Heckel gives us an update on the student registrations, citing the good responses for the Magnet programs. It would be interesting to circle back to the D’Mello’s in a couple years to see what they think of the program, especially since the two Magnet schools are the two furthest choices from their location in Savoy. It is my expectation that they will be pleasantly surprised.

Last but no least, Julie Wurth laid down pertinent thoughts in her NG Blog entry, Kindergarten Prep: Schools of Choice.

While we often hear misgivings about Schools of Choice (aka, “Controlled Choice”), I have not heard many viable alternatives suggested. Curious. I do think there are key obstacles within the system and the various procedures in place, but it seems like I have to keep peeling back the onion to figure out exactly what they are. In some ways, it almost seems as if the public perception of schools (including things like the Lottery) would improve, then the schools would actually improve. 🙂

Oh, one other note. Dr. Mark Aber and I are conversing about the Climate Survey and I hope to meet with him after Spring Break so we can talk more in-depth. We both have a desire that the community enter into a discussion about this thing and hash it out.


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