This is the first post on All Opinions Are Local by D.C. blogger Natalie Wexler, who is a new participant in The Post’s Local Blog Network.

All DCPS schools and most charter schools have agreed to a common enrollment lottery that will take effect for school year 2014-15. The new process will cut down on duplicate applications and student reshuffling at the beginning of the year. Why, then, have some charters opted not to participate?

For years now, observers of the D.C. education scene have been calling for a unified enrollment process, either for all charter schools or for both charters and DCPS schools. The benefits seem clear: Parents will be able to file a single application and rank schools in the order of their preference. Schools will no longer find students leaving in September as they get into other schools off waiting lists or simply decide they would be happier at another school where they also secured a spot.

But when the deadline for joining the common lottery arrived at the end of September, a dozen charter schools were missing from the list. The charters who are participating account for nearly 90 percent of charter slots, but the ones who opted out include some highly sought-after schools, such as Washington Yu Ying and Latin American Montessori Bilingual (LAMB). Clearly, some parents will continue to apply to those schools separately, in addition to or instead of applying through the common process.

A fact sheet on the unified lottery, dubbed My School DC, explains the procedure, although some details are not yet finalized. Parents will be able to apply online to as many as 10 to 15 schools, including both charter and DCPS options, listing them in order of preference. Families can submit applications beginning on Dec. 16, and there are two different application deadlines: Feb. 3, 2014 for high school applicants, and March 3 for all others.

[Continue reading Natalie Wexler’s post at Greater Greater Education.]

Natalie Wexler is the editor of Greater Greater Education. She is a member of the boards of D.C. Scholars Public Charter School and the nonprofit One World Education. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.