School Assigning Process Criticized”

The Harvard Crimson; November 25, 2009

‘What’s the point of hav­ing peo­ple list schools and call­ing the process ‘School Choice’ if there is no choice in the mat­ter,’ Traietti said. ‘How are we to know that we have to ‘play’ the process by what schools to list?’

Last night, Pathak pre­sented his new model of the sys­tem in an effort to decrease the mis­trust and “strate­giz­ing” in the process. His ideas stem from his own pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence in New York and Boston Public Schools. This “strategy-proof algo­rithm,” where par­ents are not penal­ized for rank­ing overly-demanded schools, would endorse hon­est rank­ing, he said.  The per­cent­age of stu­dents receiv­ing their first choice, which is cur­rently at a high 87 per­cent, might be over­stated, he said, since they may only be get­ting their stated first choice.   Pathak sug­gested that the process should allow “seat swap­ping.” In this algo­rithm, stu­dents can either keep their assign­ment if it is truly their top choice school, or request a trade if it is not.”

 

By Rediet T. Abebe