Consistency Proposed for Vocational-Technical Admissions

June 28th, 2011

Category: News

House Bill 211, which just recently was introduced and assigned to the House Education Committee, would require admission into vocational-technical schools be determined through a lottery system rather any other criteria. The driving force behind this bill may be the fact that all three vocational-technical school districts use varied admissions processes.

Sussex Tech School District currently uses a computerized lottery system; administered twice a year to select applicants not to exceed 20% of each surrounding schools eighth grade class. Polytech School District utilizes a first come, first serve policy. Applications received during the first two weeks of the application acceptance date derive the first round of applicants reviewed for acceptance. New Castle County Vocational Technical School District also implements a first come, first serve policy; those applications received by January 6 receive primary consideration. However, once submitted, applications are then rated using an admissions rubric which assigns points for grades, attendance, and discipline. All three school districts require the passing of current courses to be eligible for admission. In addition, Sussex Tech and Polytech School Districts allow for pre-selection within their applications; meaning those with siblings already enrolled (or recently graduated) or those with relatives employed by the district can be automatically enrolled.

To offer comparison (not endorsing), many charter schools combine multiple admissions processes to select students, not just lottery systems. For example, the Sussex Academy of Arts & Sciences uses an open enrollment period and then a lottery system. The Cab Calloway School of the Arts utilizes an application acceptance date, then conducts an arts assessment and if the student passes, he or she will placed into the computerized lottery system. The Charter School of Wilmington admission process requires an initial application and placement test to be completed. Then the applicants are graded using an admissions rubric to administer points for the placement test, teacher recommendations, and an essay written by the student.

Which admissions process is the right one? Should all vocational-technical school districts as well as charters play by the same admission policy rules? Should all students be evaluated by a lottery system alone when applying to public schools? Our Delaware legislators may soon have to decide. Stay tuned by checking back to our blog to see if this bill is worked before the end of session, which is this week.

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Christy Vanderwende



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