A Boston Family Works To Make School Lottery Work For Them

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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.

This program aired on March 17, 2011.

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Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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