Exploring the Home-Based School Plans


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Last week BPS released three proposals for potential new student assignment plans. The 10 zone plan looks very much like the current plan, but with more zones. It's fairly easy to look at the map and understand which schools you could choose from if this plan were chosen.

The other two plans are more complex. To help people see what schools would be available to them, and to be able to explore them myself, I created a tool that allows you to enter an address and see what schools would be available under the two home-based plans. In addition, you can double-click on any point on the map to see what schools would be available to someone living at that location.

Try it out and let me know what you find in the comments. Do you like your choices more or less than what's available now? What address has access to schools particularly far from home? How about only schools close to home? The most or the fewest schools?


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Thanks Josh, this is great.

I assume this includes walk zone access schools?

It may seem like some families will have a lot of schools on their list, especially under Plan B, and that will work against neighborhood cohesion. But a lot of those are redundant choices, among the lower quality schools on their list. In general, families will sort themselves out somewhat by location by ranking nearby schools over farther away schools, for schools of the same level of quality.

So why have all the choices under Plan B? To give more higher-quality options to those who have fewer near their homes.

Josh Weiss's picture

Josh Weiss's picture

Yes, walk zone schools are included regardless of tier. And if a walk zone school is in tier 1-3 and/or is a capacity school it is also counted towards those.

As you say, there can be a fair amount of overlap between walk zone, tier 1-3 schools and capacity schools. In general, families who live near many tier 4 schools will end up with more schools to choose from. For example, 480 Blue Hill Ave. has nine walk zone schools and all but one are Tier 4. This address ends up with 14 schools to choose from under Home-based Plan A and 16 under plan B. Areas with better schools nearby tend to have 7 or 8 choices (none of these numbers include citywide schools).

I probably should not bring this up as it is good for me personally, but it seems like you are really lucky if you have a good school that is on the edge of town on your list. Since obviously more people are going to be near schools that are in the middle of the city rather then on the edge a tier 1 school in the middle of town is available to a ton of people, but some on the edge are basically blocked from most of the city by another tier 1 school.

Check out Kilmer in West Rox, it is basically blocked from most people having it on their list since Philbrick (sp?) is also tier 1 and closer to most of the city. Kind of ironic actually because it seems like most of what the lotto people don't want is West Rox basically having its own good school that no one else can go to, but that is pretty much what happens with Kilmer. Or maybe its a genius trojan horse, either way, that seems to be the case.

The thing is, yeah everyone has two tier 1 schools on their list, but if 200k people have one tier 1 school and only 20k people have the other tier 1 school on their list you technically both have the same number of tier 1 schools, but your chances of getting into it are not very similar.

Josh Weiss's picture

Josh Weiss's picture

It does seem inevitable that people who have the Kilmer or other schools near a Boston border on their list would have a greater chance of getting in. One result of that might be that it would eventually meet the criteria for being a "capacity school" which would make it available to more families, especially if other schools lost their capacity school status as a result of changes to the assignment plan.

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