The Challenge of Equitable Algorithmic Change

The Regulatory Review, Feb. 2019

Rutgers Law School Research Paper

9 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2019 Last revised: 13 Nov 2019

Date Written: February 10, 2019


Boston Public Schools tried to implement comprehensive change to school start times and bus schedules using a set of MIT-developed algorithms.The science was first-rate and the efforts to correct for historic inequities admirable. But because the algorithms optimized for equity and efficiency, at the expense of stability, the process foundered on public outrage. More might have been done to engage the public around the model and render more transparent the tradeoffs between various objectives. Absent such engagement, there's a risk of algorithmic scapegoating where the public blames the technology for political process failure.

Keywords: algorithms, data, technology, policy, education, transparency, due process, engagement

JEL Classification: K20

Suggested Citation

Goodman, Ellen P., The Challenge of Equitable Algorithmic Change (February 10, 2019). The Regulatory Review, Feb. 2019, Rutgers Law School Research Paper, Available at SSRN: or

Ellen P. Goodman (Contact Author)

Rutgers Law School ( email )

Newark, NJ
United States
856-225-6393 (Phone)
856-225-6516 (Fax)

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