“School Choice: A Solution to the Student Assignment Problem” by Tayfun SONMEZ
University of Michigan
University of Rochester
A central issue in school choice is the design of a student assignment mechanism. Education literature provides guidance for the design of such mechanisms but does not offer specific mechanisms. The lack of rigorous mechanisms offers opportunities to manipulate existing school choice plans and results in appeals by unsatisfied parents. A key consideration in design is that, recent state laws require different priorities be given to students at different schools. For example students who live in the attendance area of a school and students who has siblings already attending a school must be given priority. We propose a simple mechanism which responds to this requirement. Our mechanism is Pareto efficient, strategy-proof (i.e. dominant strategy incentive compatible), and it has a natural market interpretation. Moreover it can be easily modified to respect racial and ethnic balance constraints.