I was developing some examples for a new page and I came across a very interesting case in the 2011 Kindergarten Selection program. Two “low ses” parents chose Garden Hills as their 2nd choice school but were not only denied their choice, but then went on to be unassigned to any school. Here’s the kicker; aside from the fact that two “non low ses” parents chose Garden Hills as their 3rd choice and got it, 5 seats were still open at the end of the day.
I understand the policies that dictated this situation; Unit 4 has a maximum capacity for various classes (slicing up our society in a couple different ways), and those limits came to bear on the two unlucky “low ses” families. I can kinda understand that if you let one (or two) folk slip in via an exception, it sets a precedence. In theory.
But I feel bad that these two families got through the choice period with no assigned school! To add insult to injury, one of the two filled out all 5 choices, just like they were supposed to, making good (imo) choices! Keep in mind they are “low ses” – couldn’t get into any of the 5 choices. Why did this have to happen?
One very easy way to remedy that particular situation is simply to allow a parent to rank order ALL elementary schools. I have been saying this for at least 2 years now. Why limit them to 5? Because it is too confusing? People are still going to only choose a couple if they so desire (that happens now). In the meantime (since 2012 will still only have 5 choices), what about assigning a child to any available school, even if it was not chosen? The sense I get from parents is that it is a horrible feeling to have fallen through the system with no assignement whatsoever. Again, I understand the FIC does this on purpose, to get the family to come in so they can talk on the phone or face-to-face. Is it worth it?
The new page I am working on will show what chance you would have had given the choices you make now. So for example, if you give me your address and your top 5 picks, I’ll tell you what chance you had to get into each of your choices. I want this to be programmatic – otherwise, it is a bit of work on my part. 🙂 While working on this, I noticed the above-stated anomaly for the 2011 data and it looked like parents had a 0% chance to get into Garden Hills if it was their 2nd choice. And I knew that was not accurate, so I had to look deeper. I am not sure I can account for SES – or rather, I don’t think it would be wise for me to start asking those questions on my example page that is supposed to be really simple to use. Have to think about that….
*lottery: Yes, I know the FIC doesn’t like to use that term.