02/09/2014 10:03 EST | Updated 04/11/2014 05:59 EDT

Philly education officials consider following other US cities using universal enrolment model

PHILADELPHIA - Students in Philadelphia face a bewildering array of education choices, including various district-run schools, charter schools, private schools and religious schools.

But nearly all require separate applications with different deadlines.

District officials are now considering moving to a model called universal enrolment. It's already used in cities including Denver, New Orleans and Washington.

The process would allow students to rank their preferred schools on a single application. A computer algorithm would generate the best match.

The concept has met a lot of resistance in Philadelphia, one of the nation's largest districts.

Critics say the system actually reduces choice because it essentially assigns students to a school.

Supporters say it will streamline a patchwork system and make it easier for disadvantaged families to get information.