PDA

View Full Version : All SF San Francisco public school assignment lottery for 2012-2013 - Please share



lmduv9
03-13-2012, 10:07 AM
The assignment letters should be going out this Friday, March 16 from the EPC, and I can't wait for Saturday to come already. I'm so antsy to find out where we are assigned. I'd love to know how everybody else did so can you please share which school you received, which choice it was and how many other schools you listed? Good luck!!

Bwt, I saw on the SFUSD website that the EPC is closed on Friday. I'm guessing that shouldn't impact the mailing, right?

efmama74
03-15-2012, 06:02 PM
The assignment letters should be going out this Friday, March 16 from the EPC, and I can't wait for Saturday to come already. I'm so antsy to find out where we are assigned. I'd love to know how everybody else did so can you please share which school you received, which choice it was and how many other schools you listed? Good luck!!

Bwt, I saw on the SFUSD website that the EPC is closed on Friday. I'm guessing that shouldn't impact the mailing, right?

Can anybody confirm that the letters will go out tomorrow? I hope we'll have good news this weekend.

johumom
03-17-2012, 10:00 AM
So today's the day, right? The day is going so slow while we wait for good old USPS.

cita1964
03-17-2012, 11:14 AM
Got our letter just now - very unhappy. We did not get our first choice, despite it being a not overly popular school (Sunset), no preschool feeder school and us living in the zone. :(

lmduv9
03-17-2012, 11:49 AM
Got our letter just now - very unhappy. We did not get our first choice, despite it being a not overly popular school (Sunset), no preschool feeder school and us living in the zone. :(

Did you get your second or third choice? We live in the Clarendon attendance area but we're not holding out hope for Clarendon. We're just hoping we don't get shut out...

jekkosf
03-17-2012, 12:50 PM
We wanted to see which schools we might be able to get for first grade so we submitted an application again this year. We put down Clarendon, Rooftop, Miraloma, Alvarado and a couple others but no luck still. We'll probably stay where we are. I hope other parents have better luck than we've had these last two years.

nandie
03-17-2012, 01:04 PM
We got our 9th choice - Rosa Parks JBBP. It's a nice community school (though we're neither Japanese nor African American) and it's logistically convenient for us. We did not get our neighborhood school, New Traditions. We'll keep trying for New Traditions through all the rounds. If you got New Traditions and you are going private or you're going to move out of the city, please release your spot!!

jhawkmama6
03-17-2012, 02:33 PM
I can't believe it - we got our third choice Claire Lillienthal after the two Clarendon programs. I'm so ecstatic that we don't have to think about schools until 8th grade.

lmduv9
03-17-2012, 03:10 PM
As I suspected, we went 0 for 11. So maddening!!! Living in the Clarendon attendance area seems to be a penalty. Not only do we have no chance after sibs and CTIP1, we don't even get the attendace area tiebreaker for anywhere else. Round2 here we come... though not holding much hope for a better result.

johumom
03-17-2012, 05:15 PM
We also got shut out (0 for 8) and were assigned McCoppin. It's close to us but we're definitely doing Round 2 hoping for our attendance area school, which is Peabody.

Whoknows1
03-17-2012, 09:05 PM
Got our 9th choice (Feinstein). Frankly, I was hoping I would get shut out as I thought this helped with going another round. Now we've been admitted to a school that is so far away from where we are. This is untenable. I am quite unhappy, though I realize Feinstein has a good rating. It's just not going to work as a program.

Whoknows1
03-17-2012, 09:46 PM
As stated above, we got our 9th place choice. Frankly, I didn't know much about the school we got into (Feinstein). I put it down on the advice of someone who said it was not likely we'd get selected.

My understanding is if you received a spot in one of your top 10 choices then in later rounds of the lottery, you have the lowest priority. Do you know if this is true?

Our first and second choices were the Mandarin immersion programs.

Any insights or suggestions would be welcome.

scorpioabby
03-17-2012, 11:27 PM
As stated above, we got our 9th place choice. Frankly, I didn't know much about the school we got into (Feinstein). I put it down on the advice of someone who said it was not likely we'd get selected.

My understanding is if you received a spot in one of your top 10 choices then in later rounds of the lottery, you have the lowest priority. Do you know if this is true?

Our first and second choices were the Mandarin immersion programs.

Any insights or suggestions would be welcome.

Before last year, it used to be the case that if you go 0 for 7, then you get higher priority in getting a school in the following round. However, that's no longer the case. The second and subsequent rounds are pure lottery based on the same tiebreakers as the first round. In other words, whether you got Feinstein or not does not affect your chances in the following rounds. That said, if you do get a school you put down in the second round, you automatically lose the spot at Feinstein.

efmama74
03-17-2012, 11:55 PM
Put us in the shut out camp. Alvarado is our neighborhood school, which we put down as our first choice. We put down 11 other choices, thinking we'd be satisfied with any of the 12. Instead, SFUSD gave us Flynn. I thought I was prepared for this but now I'm really frustrated.

I know how SFUSD say 72% of applicants get their top 3 choices or something like that last year. I wish they'd break out the sibling data as well as the CTIP1 data so we can see what the actual percentage was for families without the first two tiebreakers.

Belochka
03-18-2012, 07:52 AM
We got our 3rd choice (after Clarendon and Rooftop) which was West Portal GE. Alvarado is our neighborhood school but I never really liked it. We are super excited and relieved! We had no luck with our private school back-up so it all came down to the dreaded SFUSD letter. I wish luck to everyone!

lmduv9
03-18-2012, 09:01 AM
We got our 3rd choice (after Clarendon and Rooftop) which was West Portal GE. Alvarado is our neighborhood school but I never really liked it. We are super excited and relieved! We had no luck with our private school back-up so it all came down to the dreaded SFUSD letter. I wish luck to everyone!

Congratulations Belochka! We really liked West Portal too. I was quite impressed with the principal and would have been very happy with that assignment. Oh well, I can only dream for that in ROund 2.

kindersf
03-18-2012, 10:51 AM
Put us in the shut out camp. Alvarado is our neighborhood school, which we put down as our first choice. We put down 11 other choices, thinking we'd be satisfied with any of the 12. Instead, SFUSD gave us Flynn. I thought I was prepared for this but now I'm really frustrated.


Alvarado was also our #1 and neighborhood school. Put down 6 others. Got Flynn. Going private. I'd be interested o see if anyone in Alvarado aa actually got Alvarado...

mamama
03-18-2012, 01:35 PM
We got our 3rd choice (after Clarendon and Rooftop) which was West Portal GE. Alvarado is our neighborhood school but I never really liked it. We are super excited and relieved! We had no luck with our private school back-up so it all came down to the dreaded SFUSD letter. I wish luck to everyone!

That's wonderful Belochka! I;m actually kind of surprised that you were able to get West Portal GE without being in the attendance area since West Portal received the second most requests last year and I'm assuming that is the case this year.

We're in Miraloma AA but got assigned Serra, not one of our 8 choices. I've actually been hearing cases where kids outside Miraloma AA that don't have the sibling or CTIP1 get assigned the school. This is very puzzling considering AA is supposed to be the third tie breaker. Something is not quite right with the assignments this year.

Mandm17327
03-18-2012, 02:05 PM
We just moved to the city a few months ago from SoCal where everyone I know went to public schools. We got a huge wake up call up here though. We were assigned a school that ranks among the lowest performing in the entire state. No offense to this school but we don't have enough time in the day to get involved and help this school out. Our child's needs will clearly not be met there as over 90% of the students are ESLs. We will try in round 2 but we're literally being forced to go private.

Belochka
03-18-2012, 02:07 PM
That's wonderful Belochka! I;m actually kind of surprised that you were able to get West Portal GE without being in the attendance area since West Portal received the second most requests last year and I'm assuming that is the case this year.

We're in Miraloma AA but got assigned Serra, not one of our 8 choices. I've actually been hearing cases where kids outside Miraloma AA that don't have the sibling or CTIP1 get assigned the school. This is very puzzling considering AA is supposed to be the third tie breaker. Something is not quite right with the assignments this year.

I am not a fan of the lottery system even though we lucked out this time. My best friend also got West Portal, not their AA either. Pure luck for both of us. I cannot compehend how someone in Miraloma AA wouldn't get in but someone outside with no favorable tie-breakers would. That contradicts everything I know about the lottery rules. It's heartbreaking. Good luck for those going into round 2!

mamama
03-18-2012, 02:18 PM
I am not a fan of the lottery system even though we lucked out this time. My best friend also got West Portal, not their AA either. Pure luck for both of us. I cannot compehend how someone in Miraloma AA wouldn't get in but someone outside with no favorable tie-breakers would. That contradicts everything I know about the lottery rules. It's heartbreaking. Good luck for those going into round 2!

Something is off, right? My understanding of the tiebreakers are that they operate in the following order:
1. Siblings
2. CTIP1
3. Attendance area
4. Everyone else

Am I missing something? I've heard similar cases at less popular attendance area schools too like Lafayette and Feinstein.

lesliebythebay
03-18-2012, 10:30 PM
Something is off, right? My understanding of the tiebreakers are that they operate in the following order:
1. Siblings
2. CTIP1
3. Attendance area
4. Everyone else

Am I missing something? I've heard similar cases at less popular attendance area schools too like Lafayette and Feinstein.

I agree that something is off. When we went through the process last year, I don't remember hearing one incident where a non-AA family got a spot over an AA family without the sibling, preK or CTIP1 tiebreaker. This year, I've already heard about inicidents at West Portal, Miraloma, Grattan, Lafayette and others. I don't know how this can be explained other than human error.

cita1964
03-18-2012, 10:39 PM
To my annoyance today, I found a second friend of my daughter got our AA (and #1 choice) before us (both are non AAs). I'm sure there are others. So frustrating! In theory, there's no way this should have happened since Siblings, CTIP1 and preschool feeders weren't factors. But we didn't get our AA, and non-AAs did. This is for Sunset.

doughramy
03-19-2012, 10:08 AM
We just moved to the city a few months ago from SoCal where everyone I know went to public schools. We got a huge wake up call up here though. We were assigned a school that ranks among the lowest performing in the entire state. No offense to this school but we don't have enough time in the day to get involved and help this school out. Our child's needs will clearly not be met there as over 90% of the students are ESLs. We will try in round 2 but we're literally being forced to go private.

We're in similar situation. We were completely open to sending our son to public school but when our assignment is Cobb, am I really going to do that to him?

foggymom
03-19-2012, 12:23 PM
Sorry to hear all the heartbreaks and angst. I guess we are among the lucky ones - we were assigned our neighborhood school Sherman. And we just made the transitional K cutoff too!

johumom
03-19-2012, 12:38 PM
I think I know the answer but figured I'd double check. If we are submitting an application for Round 2, do we have to turn the app in in person at the EPC?

mamama
03-19-2012, 08:36 PM
I agree that something is off. When we went through the process last year, I don't remember hearing one incident where a non-AA family got a spot over an AA family without the sibling, preK or CTIP1 tiebreaker. This year, I've already heard about inicidents at West Portal, Miraloma, Grattan, Lafayette and others. I don't know how this can be explained other than human error.

Based on the data from SFUSD on demand, I just don't get how a non-AA could possibly get a spot over an AA without the siblings, PreK or CTIP1 tiebreakers. I could understand if an AA applicant didn't list the school or was assigned a choice she ranked higher than her AA school, but most of the cases have the AA applicant getting shut out or getting a lower ranked choice. Here's the data released by the SFUSD.

http://www.theschoolboards.com/showthread.php/2548-Statistics-on-SFUSD-March-2012-Student-Assignment-Offers

efmama74
03-19-2012, 10:15 PM
Based on the data from SFUSD on demand, I just don't get how a non-AA could possibly get a spot over an AA without the siblings, PreK or CTIP1 tiebreakers. I could understand if an AA applicant didn't list the school or was assigned a choice she ranked higher than her AA school, but most of the cases have the AA applicant getting shut out or getting a lower ranked choice. Here's the data released by the SFUSD.

http://www.theschoolboards.com/showthread.php/2548-Statistics-on-SFUSD-March-2012-Student-Assignment-Offers

I appreciate that the SFUSD broke out the sibling spots but why couldn't they break out the preK, CTIP1 and AA requests too? I want to know what the chances are for an applicant with only the AA tiebreaker or even no tiebreakers at all to get a spot in a coveted school.

sratrosa
03-20-2012, 12:39 PM
It seems like most of the discussion is about kindergarten but I thought I'd share our assignment. We got into Hoover, the feeder middle school for our elementary school.

Xgirl
03-20-2012, 02:25 PM
I agree that something is off. When we went through the process last year, I don't remember hearing one incident where a non-AA family got a spot over an AA family without the sibling, preK or CTIP1 tiebreaker. This year, I've already heard about inicidents at West Portal, Miraloma, Grattan, Lafayette and others. I don't know how this can be explained other than human error.

You can add Yick Wo to that list (not even a highly sought after school), with at least 6 AA families shut out, and at least two non-AA families in.

We asked EPC for an explanation and they indicated that it could be the result of a swap, where after the assignment based on the tiebreakers some students are swapped in some way. This is not part of the school board approved process, does not seem to be documented anywhere, and clearly results in assignments that are the reverse of assignment according to the tiebreakers. There is some more discussion of this in the comments on Rachael Norton's board here:

http://thesfkfiles.blogspot.com/2012/03/good-luck-all.html

lesliebythebay
03-20-2012, 07:09 PM
There is some more discussion of this in the comments on Rachael Norton's board here:

The url you provided is not Rachel Norton's blog. Rachel's blog is http://rachelnorton.com/ and she hasn't made any mention of this assignment snafu. There's no way to explain all the incidents of non-AA getting a spot over an AA other than a system error.

Xgirl
03-20-2012, 08:00 PM
The url you provided is not Rachel Norton's blog. Rachel's blog is http://rachelnorton.com/ and she hasn't made any mention of this assignment snafu. There's no way to explain all the incidents of non-AA getting a spot over an AA other than a system error.

Oops, my mistake, wrong blog. My URL is for SFKfiles, where the problem is discussed, not Rachel Norton's blog, where it is not.

I agree that error looks like the most likely problem, but EPC is indicating something that may be even worse, additional assignment steps, not approved by the board, not documented, not explained to parents prior to applying, which swap applicants around after the computer has assigned them according to the "tie breakers" and which can result in assignment that is the reverse of what the "tie breakers" would indicate.

jekkosf
03-20-2012, 11:11 PM
I agree that error looks like the most likely problem, but EPC is indicating something that may be even worse, additional assignment steps, not approved by the board, not documented, not explained to parents prior to applying, which swap applicants around after the computer has assigned them according to the "tie breakers" and which can result in assignment that is the reverse of what the "tie breakers" would indicate.

My understanding is that each family is entered into the lottery for every school they have on their list. If a family gets two schools from the lottery runs, then the system assigns them the choice they ranked the highest. That means if a family ranks certain schools higher than their AA school, the system will try to assign them those schools. That's the only swapping that's ever been explained.

However, the issue we have is that a bunch of AA families this year are getting choices they ranked lower than their AA school or didn't even rank while some other non-AA families are getting those AA schools. Somebody really has some explaining to do. I think I read somewhere last year that they screwed up some Alvarado assignments and had to move several families to other schools but nothing this bad.

ggmommy
03-21-2012, 11:41 AM
Im presenting the details of my situation in hopes it can help people figure this out.
The "swap" situation must be going on. We received a great assignment, West Portal, despite not being in the AA. We do not have any tie breakers, and since I didnt even put our AA school on my list, I had no tie breakers for any schools on my list. All schools on my list were in the top 15 and I also had three city-wide, non AA schools on my list, 2 of them listed below WPortal. I think the only way this worked was that I "won the lottery" on one of the city wide schools on my list (such as Rooftop), and then it got swapped with someone else who got WPortal and had the CW school listed above WPortal on their list. If this is how it works then it seems the strategy should be to stock your list with CW schools lower down on your list with your top choices above with hopes you will get to swap. Wackiness.

gbird
03-21-2012, 12:11 PM
My daughter, no siblings, got into Alice Fong Yu (AFY) Alternative School, K-8 in the Inner Sunset. We were not in AA, but since we live in SOMA, where the average test scores are low, CTIP1 helped us. AFY was my 2nd choice after Clarendon. Claire Lilienthal and Rooftop were my 3rd and 4th choices. I feel like I won the lottery.

I spoke to several of the parents at my daughter's preschool and about 50% were pleased with their placement. It seems like living in the AA of the school of your choice made little difference, whereas CTIP1, made a big difference.

So my advice for future parents entering the lottery is to find a cool loft in SOMA (low test score area) to live in until after the lottery results. Then move near the top choice school you get into. I know this sounds insane to some, but it looks like CTIP1 helps a great deal if your child doesn't have siblings attending a top choice school.

Xgirl
03-21-2012, 04:21 PM
"CTIP1 helped us. AFY was my 2nd choice after Clarendon."

I'm confused. If you are CTIP1, shouldn't you get your first choice? Not even Clarendon fills up with siblings and CTIP1s, and you shouldn't lose out for anyone lower (AA, non-AA). Or am I missing something?

jekkosf
03-21-2012, 04:46 PM
"CTIP1 helped us. AFY was my 2nd choice after Clarendon."

I'm confused. If you are CTIP1, shouldn't you get your first choice? Not even Clarendon fills up with siblings and CTIP1s, and you shouldn't lose out for anyone lower (AA, non-AA). Or am I missing something?

Maybe Clarendon did have more CTIP1 requests than available openings net of siblings this year, but we won't know since SFUSD didn't break out CTIP1 requests for the most requested schools this year. Or there's yet another snafu with the system.

jekkosf
03-21-2012, 04:48 PM
Im presenting the details of my situation in hopes it can help people figure this out.
The "swap" situation must be going on. We received a great assignment, West Portal, despite not being in the AA. We do not have any tie breakers, and since I didnt even put our AA school on my list, I had no tie breakers for any schools on my list. All schools on my list were in the top 15 and I also had three city-wide, non AA schools on my list, 2 of them listed below WPortal. I think the only way this worked was that I "won the lottery" on one of the city wide schools on my list (such as Rooftop), and then it got swapped with someone else who got WPortal and had the CW school listed above WPortal on their list. If this is how it works then it seems the strategy should be to stock your list with CW schools lower down on your list with your top choices above with hopes you will get to swap. Wackiness.

ggmommy, thanks for presenting your info. You're right that should be the case for when swapping happens. However, the issue is that the West Portal AA families (and other AA families) are not getting assigned choices they ranked ahead of their AA school. They're complaining that they're getting assigned lower ranked schools or schools they didn't even rank. Hence the frustration we're seeing.

gbird
03-21-2012, 06:16 PM
I think after siblings filled spots at Clarendon, there were very few openings for CTIP1s. Clarendon seems to be the 1st choice for families every single year. Also since AFY is city wide, AA would not have helped. We are pleased with the AFY placement. I am surprised to see that it was not near the top of the list for other families. The SFUSD released stats on what the top choice schools were. AFY was maybe 4th or 5th (don't quote me on this) most popular behind Clarendon, West Portal, Claire Lilienthal and Rooftop as a 1st choice school. Highlights of AFY: Cantonese AND Mandarin (children learn both) Immersion, highest API in the school district for 2011 (some years prior too), K-8, before/after school program, challenging curriculum.

Tbugsmom
03-21-2012, 10:31 PM
We are among the lucky few... We got our first choice Lafayette. We listed 10 schools, and are non CTP1 and non AA. Good luck to everyone going through round 2.

Belochka
03-22-2012, 09:00 AM
Maybe Clarendon did have more CTIP1 requests than available openings net of siblings this year, but we won't know since SFUSD didn't break out CTIP1 requests for the most requested schools this year. Or there's yet another snafu with the system.
I know for a fact about someone in the Clarendon AA who got it, so it's bewildering to me how someone from CTIP1 area would not.

enniroc
03-22-2012, 09:43 AM
I guess we were also amongst the lucky ones. We didn't like our AA school (Glen Park), so didn't put it on our list. No tie-breaker. We got our first choice: Sunnyside.

ggmommy
03-22-2012, 10:12 AM
ggmommy, thanks for presenting your info. You're right that should be the case for when swapping happens. However, the issue is that the West Portal AA families (and other AA families) are not getting assigned choices they ranked ahead of their AA school. They're complaining that they're getting assigned lower ranked schools or schools they didn't even rank. Hence the frustration we're seeing.

Yes, I understand this and also think something fishy is going on. At the end of the day while we seemed to luck out with our assignment, we are going private. So the West Portal seat will go to someone in Round 2.

Whoknows1
03-23-2012, 02:35 PM
Thank you, Scorpioabby, so much for your response. You took me out of the depths of, well, feeling sorry for us. I really appreciate it. At least there's hope for the 2nd and 3rd rounds, and now I need to be more deliberate about what I list....

lmduv9
03-24-2012, 12:42 PM
I just saw this posted about SFUSD's explanation for the swapping:

http://www.theschoolboards.com/showthread.php/2563-SFUSD-releases-fact-sheet-on-how-the-student-assignment-transfer-process-works

That's all fine and good but how do they explain the AA families getting worse choices than where they ranked their AA school? I think if more people knew about this swapping, they would have changed the order they ranked the schools and how many they listed.

survivingSF
03-28-2012, 02:35 PM
Question, We will not be taking a spot at the school we were assigned (McCoppin as well) but want to go in for round 2. Is there any guarantee that we won't be re-assigned the same school come round 2? is it better to take the spot to avoid this?

mamama
03-28-2012, 04:40 PM
Question, We will not be taking a spot at the school we were assigned (McCoppin as well) but want to go in for round 2. Is there any guarantee that we won't be re-assigned the same school come round 2? is it better to take the spot to avoid this?

To the best of my knowledge, taking or not taking your spot at McCopping doesn't impact your chances in Round 2. You might as well take it. That way, you at least have a fallback. If you are assigned a different school in Round 2, then the spot at McCoppin goes to somebody else.

efmama74
03-29-2012, 09:13 AM
This is how Rachel Norton explained the swapping system on her blog comment...

Basically, there were several ideas behind the current system of tiebreakers. Many people have a or school(s) they LOVE above all others, but would accept their AA school if they don’t get that school (immersion is a great example of this — let’s say I live in the AA for Elena Kagan Elementary and am OK with it but really want my child to be in immersion at Sonia Sotomayor Elementary or Antonin Scalia Elementary). Under the old system, the order you listed schools really played a role in your likelihood of getting them, because the lottery took into account your first choice and attempted to place you there first. If you didn’t get your first choice, your chances of getting any choice dropped precipitously because other people who listed that school first would get there ahead of you.
If you remember the discussion of “non-wastefulness” and “simplicity” from Clayton Featherstone and Muriel Niederle when we were redesigning the system, you’ll remember that one of the things they stressed was a system that encouraged parents to list their true choices and not strategize about how they listed their choices because one choice affected all of the others.
Al Roth is critical of how SF has implemented our system but he would stress the same point — it is imperative that parents not feel that they should be strategic about their preferences rather than honest. In other words, the system should reward you for being honest about your choices instead of being better at playing the odds.
I’ve said it a few times and I’ll say it again: the swap has NO effect on whether you receive a choice or not, but it is a true criticism that people who possess a high tiebreaker come into the swap round with a better “hand” than those who do not. Let’s say I live in the AA for Clarence Thomas Elementary and I list that 9th out of my nine choices. Because I have no other tiebreakers, and because of high competition for my other choices, I end up assigned to Clarence Thomas Elementary going into the swap round. I would love for there to be someone who is “holding” Sonia Sotomayor and willing to trade up for Clarence Thomas, but if no one out there is willing to “swap” with me I am out of luck and remain assigned to my 9th choice.
The misunderstanding has centered on whether the “swap” round displaces AA residents. It does not. Let’s say Elena Kagan Elementary has 44 seats for incoming kinders — there are 17 younger siblings so they take the first 17 seats; 27 left. Then let’s say there are 5 CTIP1 applicants — that leaves 22 open seats for AA and all other applicants. If there are 30 applicants from the AA, 22 are chosen at random and the remaining 8 are shut out. Now the “swap” round begins. Let’s say 10 of the AA applicants who were placed are willing to trade for a higher choice. The computer “matches” those applicants who are willing to trade their school for a seat at Elena Kagan (remember my opening example about liking Kagan but really wanting a seat at Sotomayor?). Those new applicants may well not have any tiebreakers (AA, CTIP, etc.), but because they are holding a good “hand,” they get to swap for a seat at Kagan. When all is completed, the incoming class at Kagan may be just 25% people from the AA, with siblings, CTIP1 and “swapped” applicants rounding out the class. Does this mean that the original 8 who were “shut out” have been disadvantaged? That’s a very difficult question. The objective of the system is to try to get everyone one of their choices, and get them the highest choice possible. However, we are balancing that against the reality that the vast majority of applicants want to go to 40 of the district’s 73 elementary schools, and there is just no way to get everyone what they want as long as the choice patterns remain the way they are. We could change the rules to prioritize other things, but the fact remains that some people will not get a choice as long as there are schools that are not chosen.
As far as the AA priority, the Board has never said that it should be the highest priority, nor has the system ever guaranteed that all AA applicants will get their AA school. However, the current system prioritizes AA applicants more than any system in recent memory. Still, in schools with a small number of seats and a lot of siblings and AA applicants, there is a larger likelihood that some AA applicants won’t get in. This year this pattern is evident at Peabody and Yick Wo, for example. I’ve asked for a breakdown of all applicant data to illustrate this better, but EPC is swamped so I have to wait like everyone else. I’ll post it when I have it. Hope this explanation helps!
P.S. I need to immediately make clear that the “swapping” — more precisely called “top trading cycles” happens at the end of each round and does not happen between rounds. This is an important distinction because swapping between rounds really would add to the disadvantage of those who are holding no hand at all. I’m also uneasy about folks who have swapped “up” in Round I being able to keep trying for a higher choice in Round II, because it means I might be able to get out of my Clarence Thomas seat and score a seat at Kagan or Sotomayor even as someone else has nothing and is competing against me for the same seats. The odds are the same for me and any other applicant competing for a shot at Kagan or Sotomayor, so it’s really a psychological disadvantage more than anything else — it feels a lot worse to not be holding anything than to be holding something and hoping for something better.