A Problem We Don’t Have in Missouri
I often complain that traditional public school systems assign students to schools based on where they live. Disadvantaged students, who can’t afford to move to other districts or pay for private schooling, are forced into schools that have no competition. There’s another downside of the system, which won’t inspire much sympathy, but which shows that it’s failing people across the board: Wealthy families in high-density neighborhoods can be shut out of their local schools. (You don’t see that in Missouri, but it happens in Manhattan.)
This model of matching kids with schools works poorly. Some schools are operating under capacity, and districts have to go to a lot of time and trouble to consolidate — and risk alienating parents along the way. Others, like the Manhattan schools mentioned in the article, can’t accommodate all the children in their zones.
Severing the tie between residence and school would allow greater efficiency, and it would also reduce parents’ stress from trying to get into the “right” neighborhood near the “right” school.