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Do Charter School (And Magnet) Lotteries Really Work?

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One of the most persistent -- and hotly disputed -- criticisms of charter schools is that they don't take all kids. This is old news. But one key issue that I've never seen addressed is the notion that the list of kids who win the lottery to get into a charter is substantially different from the list of kids who actually enroll and start school in the fall. The perception is that the two lists are substantially different, and that kids who drop out of the process or decide to go elsewhere aren't replaced by lottery kids but rather by principals' choices -- and that there's little or no monitoring. Have charter schools addressed this concern, and is it legitimate or not really that much of a problem?
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I work for a large charter management company. Here's how the lottery/waiting list works at our schools, and must work to be legal:
Open enrollment periods are established each year. All currently enrolled students are guaranteed an accepted status for the next year's class. If applications during open enrollment exceed the number of available seats in a given grade level, ALL applicants not currently accepted go into the lottery. The first names drawn in the lottery get an accepted status, until all seats are filled, and then the rest of the names drawn in the lottery go on a waiting list in the order they are drawn. If a currently accepted student decides to withdraw, then the first name on the waiting list gains accepted status. Through this attrition, yes, the list changes. It is completely ILLEGAL to pick and choose students as you suggest in the post. The only exception is sibling preference. If two or more siblings have applied, and one is accepted (or currently enrolled), then the sibling(s)are moved to the front of the waiting list. Final enrollment is not determined until you see who from the ranks of accepted actually shows up on the first day of school. That is when they get enrolled for the new year. If they don't show up, they are contacted, and if they so choose, they give up their spot to the next person on the waiting list. Rarely does the list at lottery day match the enrolled list. This is because of the attrition processes I mentioned above, NEVER because of someone choosing yes or no for a particular student. Not in a school who does things legally anyway. I don't know how closely this is monitored, or by whom, but this is how it is supposed to be done. The law states that charters must accept all comers, just as with traditional public schools, with the only limit allowed being to cap class sizes and therfore enrollment numbers, which is where we get the lotteries.
I can't speak to magnet schools, as I don't know how that is different.

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