New DoE School Choice Rules Increase Parental Anxiety (Village Voice news blog)

No, I didn’t write the headline, but it pretty well sums up the situation. The New York City Department of Education has new rules to simplify picking schools for pre-K and kindergarteners, and the implications are clear as mud:

The city’s long-awaited changes to the school variance procedure — for non-parents, that’s code for “who gets to pick which school their kids go to, and who has to go to whatever’s the closest” — are out, and parents are already starting to buzz about what it means for the increasingly fraught world of public school admissions. While the new system was first announced last week, two subsequent community info sessions in Manhattan and Brooklyn (the other three boroughs take their turn the next two weeks), as well as conversations with the Department of Education, have begun to fill in the details:

• Principals will no longer have discretion to decide which kids to let in from outside their designated school zone. Instead, all parents will fill out a single form to apply to different programs, listing their five top choices… [read more]