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theschoolboards
04-13-2011, 10:34 AM
This from the Boston Globe (http://www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/articles/2011/04/13/boston_officials_will_scrutinize_school_choice_onc e_again/) by James Vaznis:
Boston school officials will present their vision tonight for a major overhaul of the city’s more than two-decade-old system of assigning students to schools, nearly two years after they abandoned a proposal amid public uproar.

The overhaul will attempt to simplify the process for parents to register their children for school and could also reduce the number of schools that parents can choose from — a measure the school district is exploring to save on busing costs.

The presentation at tonight’s School Committee meeting is not expected to offer any specific recommendations, but will simply lay out the 18-month process to develop recommendations.

In sharp contrast to the proposal of two years ago, school officials say they will consult a number of parents and other interested parties in public gatherings, starting next month, to create the recommendations. A lack of public involvement doomed the last proposal, school observers have said.

The changes should lead to a “simpler, more customer-friendly school choice system that actually makes sense for parents,’’ school officials said in a newsletter Monday.

“We need to do a better job of welcoming parents to the system,’’ said Michael Goar, deputy superintendent.

The city’s student assignment system has for years created angst among parents, who often find the process cumbersome and mystifying.

The city is divided into three sprawling assignment regions, enabling parents to pick from an array of schools for their children. Parents must register their children for school in person at a regional registration site and are required to submit about a half-dozen documents to prove residency.

But demand for some schools exceeds capacity, so admission is not guaranteed and is determined by a computerized algorithm, causing months of hand-wringing among parents.

read more>> (http://www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/articles/2011/04/13/boston_officials_will_scrutinize_school_choice_onc e_again/)