To the editors:
Thank you for your much-needed coverage of the high school selection process.
I would like to respond, however, to School District officials’ suggestion that eliminating multiple acceptances would make the process more equitable. If you are accepted at all five high schools to which you apply, you do not prevent other students from getting into those schools. Those spots are held for only a very short time (the deadline is only a few days after receipt of the acceptance letter), and then they are open for other students. No one is prevented from getting into a special admission or any other school because of multiple admissions.
Requiring 8th graders to rank all their choices by the October deadline, before they have been able to visit schools or hear from representatives, would effectively limit choices, given the imperfect information system and inconsistencies in counseling. Students with less information or less active counselors would suffer the most, making the system less equitable than it is now.
A better way to improve the process for everyone is to insist that all 8th grade counselors schedule a meeting with each 8th grader and the student’s parent to discuss the process and what options are likely fits for that student; to insist that high schools provide information, not just at the high school fair but by allowing tours or shadowing or both; and to inform parents in advance when high school representatives are scheduled to visit 8th grade classes.
Gretchen Cowell (via the Notebook blog)
The writer is a public school parent in Philadelphia.
Her original comment is located here.