Lottery Day

Rock music has been cranking outside my office for the past hour. Beasties. Metallica. Survivor. Math teacher Matt Collins challenged all the kids to Guitar Hero. They're playing him one by one. He's dispatching most with ease. But a roar just went up. An upperclassman beat him 201,000 to 194,000. If I understand correctly, Collins now has to donate $10 to the prom fund. Everyone is having a blast.

Alas. I wish there were a fun way to do a charter school admissions lottery. There isn't.

In Boston, many charter school lotteries were held last night. There are 19 such schools. According to Wicked Local, "more than 10,000 children have been entered in the lotteries; only about 1,000 spots are available."

So: many sad parents.

Over in MATCH world, 612 kids applied for our middle school, about 70 spots; 509 kids applied for our elementary, for 100 seats.

Lots of terrific work by: Rachel Johnson, Sarah Higgins, and many others on our team, to coordinate the logistics and outreach. Thank you.

The first ten names drawn were:

Yadiel Genia Albert Brianny Suad Yariel Jayden Quynh Marium Jacoby

I look at these names. Think about my ancestors from Hungary, Poland, Russia. What were their first American schools like? What about back in the homeland? I wonder what they'd think of MATCH.

I blogged about our lottery last year.

My story today is about my estimable colleague Orin and his wife Johanna. They live in Dorchester. Their lovely daughter currently attends the district school which was assigned to them. In Boston's unusual system, this school is located in a Southie housing project several miles from their home.

They entered both their kids in the admissions lottery for MATCH Community Day. Didn't get in. Deep on wait list.

Under some charter school laws, like in Washington DC, the children of staff members have admission preference. Not true here in Massachusetts.

Is admission preference for staff a good idea?

Two competing values:

a. It's good for staff to send their kids to a charter school. What a great signal to all the families. "I love the school where I work, it's where I want my own kids to go."

And if you send your own kids to your school, it's a terrific way to understand the "true student experience"...and therefore to improve the school.

b. It's bad for staff to send their kids to a charter school. The staff are middle-class and often highly educated. So a precious spot is taken from a kid from a poor family.

Both arguments valid.

In net, I lean towards "a." I wish Orin's kids had gotten in.


If you're curious what the event looks like, here is a local TV news story from last year. It's about 2 charter lotteries:

Inside the Charter School Lottery Process: