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The New York City High School Match

How Do New York City Schools Assign Seats?

School Assignment, December 2005

In coordination with the New York City Department of Education, Abdulkadiroglu, Pathak, and Roth explore the mechanism which matches over 90,000 entering students to public high schools each year.  They report on the process to reveal that New York City needs more good schools.  Given the stock of seats, more students can be admitted to the schools they want if the matching process eliminates congestion to more fully account for students’ preferences.

New York City has the largest pub­lic school sys­tem in the coun­try, with over a mil­lion stu­dents.  In 1969 the sys­tem was decen­tral­ized into over 30 com­mu­ni­ty school dis­tricts. In the 1990s, the city began to take more cen­tral­ized con­trol, and in 2002, a new­ly reor­ga­nized NYCDOE began to reform many aspects of the school sys­tem. Jeremy Lack, then the NYCDOE Director of Strategic Planning, con­tact­ed the team for advice on design­ing a new high-school match­ing process. The three authors advised Lack and his col­leagues, and the DOE’s soft­ware ven­dor, about the design of the match.