October 2012

The portfolio district model adopted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City is often held up as a national model for high school "choice," touted as the best way to reduce pernicious race- and income-based achievement gaps. According to this model, student demographics are “no excuse” for poor performance: teacher quality is the single most important determinant of student success. But this AISR study on college readiness shows that in spite of a decade of efforts in New York City to expand choice and ensure that the most disadvantaged students do not invariably attend the most disadvantaged schools, student demographics still stubbornly dictate destiny.