"The Institute for Innovation in Public School Choice (IIPSC) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to support groups of people in cities in designing and implementing school choice and enrollment processes. They work with consortiums of people in cities to bring them through a process they call market design: creating a group of policies and operations that, when taken together as a whole, govern the way kids apply to and are accepted to schools.
IIPSC is hosting a conference on May 20, 2015 where education leaders from all over the country will gather to immerse themselves in unified enrollment theory and practice. Practitioners from cities that have already implemented or are implementing unified enrollment – Cleveland, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, New Orleans, New York City, Newark, Oakland, and Washington DC – will be on hand to share their knowledge and experiences. The goal is for all participants to emerge from the conference with a concrete set of knowledge and tools to use in advancing this critical work in their own cities.
Neil Dorosin is the Executive Director and Gaby Fighetti is the Deputy Executive Director of IIPSC. Read more about their work below.
How has IIPSC effectively launched this current reform movement with unified enrollment?
Neil: IIPSC principals first worked together in New York City in the very early Joel Klein years, and in this environment there were almost no charter schools. This illustrates that the ideas within unified enrollment are not specific to any particular type of school- charter schools, district schools, non-public schools, etc. They are ideas that allow administrators to serve families better. To bring efficiency, equity, and transparency to enrollment and choice systems.
When we began working with Denver we realized that what we were doing requires district and charter sectors to work together in a whole new way, and these changes are fundamental to the way cities manage school choice and then hopefully implement portfolio reform strategy. We are committed to political neutrality and always make sure that people in cities know that our work is meant to advance healthy choice processes, not to advance any political position. We love the fact that people in cities all over the country now see the ideas and guiding principles of unified enrollment systems as things that they believe in and want to advance in their cities.
Tell us about the team who helped design the unified enrollment system.
Neil: Al Roth shared the Nobel Prize in economics for applying matching theory science to solve real world problems. Most famous examples include the Medical Residency match (matching residents and hospitals), kidney donor exchange programs (identifying compatible pairs of donors and recipients from VERY long waitlists, and saving many lives), and for unified enrollment work.Parag Pathak was his student, and is now a full professor at MIT. Atila Abdulkadiroglu co-wrote the seminal paper on the market design approach to school choice in 2003 and joined Al and Parag in the first schools project – in New York City in 2003. Al, Parag and Atila are all now members of our advisory board and active participants in our projects with cities.
It turns out that matching science can be adapted to solve these and other problems, and to make people’s live better in real and meaningful ways. We are motivated by this every day."