BPS Needs to Fix Its Walk Zone Utilities

One of the bedrock assurances in the Boston Public Schools roll-out of school assignment reform options is the preservation of walk zones. The BPS message has been that, regardless of how many zones might be created, families will still have preference for existing walk-zone options, regardless of whether or not they end up in the assignment zone.

The problem is that the utility that BPS rolled out with the reform options does not appear to work correctly. It’s supposed to allow you to examine the various reform options with a map of available schools (both in your walk zone and assignment zone). However, for many parents, it shows fewer schools in their walk zone than before. Given the levels of confusion and anxiety around this process, parents are being told (incorrectly) that they have fewer walk-zone options under reform scenarios.

To shed light on this, I picked an address other than my own: 44 Anawan, right on the West Roxbury border, and searched for the results. The utility with the reform proposals only shows three walk zone schools:

boston public school walk zonesScreenshot via mybps.org

But for that address, two other BPS utilities, DiscoverBPS and “What Are My Schools?”, both show six walk-zone options.

I hear the BPS is working to correct this, and I hope they do it soon. Isn’t the reform process complex enough—even with fully accurate information?