Several parents and education advocates demanded that the Department of Education release the lottery number used to decide which students receive admission to public schools. While the DOE responded to the requests, they did not explain how they arrived at the numbers.
Rather than giving families access to the lottery numbers, the DOE stated that they were composed of long strings of letters and numbers. In addition, they claimed the numbers did not give relative odds for students’ preferred schools.
However, studies show that having a single lottery number does not penalize students. Instead, it helps them be assigned to their top choice. This is because the chances of being assigned to the top choice are increased by using a single lottery number for all schools.
Some of the requests for lottery number information were made before the list was submitted. Others received a detailed explanation. It is likely that the numbers were generated by a computer. The Department of Education should have provided a more thorough explanation.
While the decision did not affect the process of selecting students for admission to school, it did cause some confusion. It was also a violation of Mayor De Blasio’s campaign promise to increase transparency. While the lottery number is important to understand, it is not necessarily luck. A lottery number is a computer-generated number that tells you where your child fits in the admissions process.
If you want to learn more about the lottery number, check out the Freedom of Information Law. The law allows you to view information that the Department of Education uses to determine which students receive admission to public schools.