A Boston Family Works To Make School Lottery Work For Them

BOSTON — For thousands of families in Boston, opening the mailbox has taken on a whole new level of significance this week.

It’s mid-March, meaning any day now, a letter from Boston Public Schools is due to arrive. Parents will find out whether their four-or five-year-old child will start at one of the schools they’ve requested through the city’s complicated lottery process.

For years the story has been that if a family isn’t assigned to one of the handful of well-regarded public schools in the city, they face the decision of putting their child into a private school — if they have the means — or moving into the suburbs.

But there are other parents, such as Stefan and Ashley Lanfer of Jamaica Plain, who would like to change that story.

“We’re willing to give it a shot,” Ashley Lanfer said in an interview with Morning Edition’s Bob Oakes. “We’re not going to run scared just because some people say that the Boston public schools have all these challenges. We know that they have challenges, we’re willing to be a part of the solution and try to make it work. We’re not willing to throw in the towel before we’ve even started.”

The Lanfers love where they live and they want to raise their two kids in the city and put them through the Boston public schools system. So they’ve done their research and tried to be smart about the system, and now all they can do is wait to see how it turns out.

Click the “Listen Now” button above to hear the full interview with Stefan and Ashley Lanfer.

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  • Boston Parent

    Great piece. Looking forward to following this story.

  • Rbrose75

    The unfortunate part about the lottery system is that you do spend a lot of time looking at these schools, but don’t receive a lottery number until after the school review process. My wife and I went to 12 schools within the West Zone taking more time off from work than we expected. In the end, we listed 15 schools and did not get a spot at any of them. If we had known our lottery number up front, we would have saved a lot of time and stress. We would have dedicated more time to apply to private or parochial schools. We also realized from this process that there is no such thing as a “neighborhood school” if you can’t send your own kids to one. There is no sense of community with the BPS system.
    JP Family

  • Suzyf921

    where’s the followup??? I think they must have gotten the news by now.

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