Boston schools close to new student assignment system

A new student-assignment system is in the works for Boston Public Schools. (Chris Devers/Flickr)
A new student-assignment system is in the works for Boston Public Schools. (Chris Devers/Flickr)

Students in Boston Public Schools would be more likely to attend classes close to home, if the district implements a new student assignment system.

20 of 27 members of the External Advisory Committee on School Choice voted in favor of the plan Monday night. Mayor Thomas Menino established the 27-member committee — made up of students, parents, teachers, and community leaders — in January 2012 after promoting the idea of a new school choice system in his State of the City address.

According to the district, the “Home Based: A” system would let families choose from at least six schools. The list would include two or more schools from Tier I, the district’s top 25 percent, based on MCAS scores.

The rest of the list would be based on quality and distance from a student’s home, including all schools within a one mile “walk zone.” High school students would be allowed to pick any school in the city.

The current BPS system, which has been in place since 1989, breaks the district into three zones. Critics argue it doesn’t allow all students to have access to high-quality schools.

The proposal will be formally presented to Superintendent Carol Johnson and the School Committee at Wednesday night’s meeting. Public meetings will be held to gather feedback before the committee votes next month.

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