The school-assignment plan that emerged from the mayor’s 27-member advisory committee represents a commitment to a more rational system of matching students and schools. It seeks to balance two important goals — providing families with more options closer to their homes, while ensuring that every child has a decent shot at a good-quality school. The School Committee, which will consider the plan today, should accept it as a step forward — not a bold or transformative one, but one that puts the system on a clear path to improvement.
The plan would give families the choice of at least six schools located relatively near their homes. If there are enough “high-performing” schools nearby, parents might not get more than six choices. Parents in neighborhoods with fewer good schools would get more choices, so that all families would have a fair shot at a school judged to be high-performing. Ultimately, many families wouldn’t get their first choices, and the process of determining where their children end up would be complicated. There would still be too much busing, and some parents may not get assignments early enough to make a decision whether to apply to private schools or move out of the city.