Who says that politics never works.
Cincinnati Public Schools have been struggling for years to manage enrollment in their most popular magnet programs. Famously, parents of prospective students will camp out at the school for days to assure themselves of a spot at the four most popular magnet elementaries. Meanwhile, school officials and public activists worry that under-resourced families are frozen out because they can't camp out, and so they advocate a lottery to assign places. Meanwhile, parents in the schools worry that under a lottery there won't be a place for the highly motivated families that they imagine they are. Meanwhile, people wanting to recruit workers to Our Fair City recognize that if the best schools are accessible only by lottery, parents won't bet their kids futures on a life on Our Fair City.
But last night, a compromise was reached. Seventy percent of available spaces will be granted to folks who line up. Thirty percent will be assigned by lottery to families living in neighborhoods with demonstrably bad schools.
This passes the SWNID Smell Test. We can still warmly endorse city residency for families with young children, knowing that avenues of quality public education will be available to them. And other goals that the district has are being served nicely by this means too, maybe better than if there were just a lottery alone.
The Cincinnati Public School Board has been the object of a lot of criticism. So has the administration. We think they deserve an A- for this.