On September 19, 2022, two D.C. Policy Center reports were cited by Greater Greater Washington:
Still, DC schools continue to struggle to disrupt historic patterns of segregation. While students are fairly likely to go to school with students of a different class, they’re much less likely to go to school with a lot of students of a different race.
One way to improve the lottery for “at-risk” students, some advocates say, is to give at-risk students (including students experiencing homelessness, students in the foster care system, and those receiving government cash or food assistance) a priority.
Currently, at-risk students are less likely to get into their school of choice, both as a result of long waitlists in highly sought-after schools and because sibling priority in the lottery means that current school demographics are hard to disrupt.
While a 2018 study found that giving at-risk students a higher priority would improve outcomes for just 8.2% of at-risk participants, a 2020 study by DC Policy Center was much more promising.
They looked specifically at charter schools with long waitlists that had just 15% of at-risk students enrolled (city-wide, 45% of students are at-risk). At these schools, given the preference siblings get in the lottery, it was hard for at-risk students to snag a coveted spot.
They found that giving them an edge in the lottery, even less of one than the sibling priority, could increase their match rates from 4% to 42%.
Read more: What experts say needs to be done to disrupt historic patterns of segregation in DC’s schools | Greater Greater Washington
Related: Landscape of Diversity in D.C. Public Schools | D.C. Policy Center
Related: At-risk priority in D.C.’s common lottery: Potential implications for access and diversity | D.C. Policy Center