Blog: The Educated Reporter

Where do the lottery losers end up?

I met Macke Raymond of Stanford at a conference last week. When the conversation turned to Gail Collins’s exasperation over charter school lotteries in a recent New York Times column, Raymond said something interesting. According to the data she has gathered, students who are not accepted into charter schools almost never go back to the bad neighborhood school they were seeking to leave.

They go to lesser charter schools or parochial schools, or their families move—they are that determined. To Raymond, this means that it is inaccurate to imply (whether you are a parent or a filmmaker) that these lotteries are the last chance for children. To me, as a challenge to common assumptions about where these kids end up, it makes for a good topic for journalistic exploration.