School Assigning Process Criticized”

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