Algorithmic Change and Political Failure: Boston Public Schools Case Study
12 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 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: Suggested Citation