Choosing Schools: Consumer Choice and the Quality of American Schools

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April 2002



School choice seeks to create a competitive arena in which public schools will attain academic excellence, encourage individual student performance, and achieve social balance. In debating the feasibility of this market approach to improving school systems, analysts have focused primarily on schools as suppliers of education, but an important question remains: Will parents be able to function as "smart consumers" on behalf of their children? Here, a highly respected team of social scientists provides extensive empirical evidence on how parents currently do make these choices. Drawn from four different types of school districts in New York City and suburban New Jersey, their findings not only stress the importance of parental decision making and involvement to school performance but also clarify the issues of school choice in ways that bring much-needed balance to the ongoing debate.


List of Figures vii List of Tables ix Acknowlegments xiii Introduction School Choice, Parent Incentives, and the Use of Information 3 PART ONE Chapter 1 Reinventing the Governance Structure of Education: School Choice as Educational Reform 21 Chapter 2 Parent Behavior and the Demand Side of School Choice 39 Chapter 3 Studying Choice: The Research Design 59 PART TWO Chapter 4 The Distribution of Preferences: What Do Parents Want from Schools? 87 Chapter 5 How Do Parents Search for Information? 108 Chapter 6 Building Social Networks to Search for Information about Schools 126 PART THREE Chapter 7 The Distribution of Knowledge: How Much Do Parents Know about the Schools? 149 Chapter 8 Allocational Efficiency: You Can't Always Get What You Want -- But Some Do 164 Chapter 9 Productive Efficiency: Does School Choice Affect Academic Performance? 185 Chapter 10 Does Choice Increase Segregation and Stratification? 204 Chapter 11 Choosing Together Is Better than Bowling Alone: School Choice and the Creation of Social Capital 223 Chapter 12 Opting Out of Public Schools: Can Choice Affect the Relationship between Private and Public Schools? 238 CONCLUSION Chapter 13 Myths and Markets: Choice Is No Panacea, But It Does Work 261 Notes 275 References 285 Index 307


Mark Schneider is Professor of Political Science at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. His books include The Competitive City and, with Paul Teske, Public Entrepreneurs (Princeton). Paul Teske is Professor of Political Science at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Melissa Marschall is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


[A] very comprehensive volume... The reader will be stimulated by the depth of analyses and the originality of the interpretations... Clearly, this book will be the standard departure point for further study on informing school choice. -- Henry M. Levin Urban Affairs Review This timely, thoughtful, and useful guide, which clearly favors educational choice as a solution to the many challenges facing American schools today, should be read by those on both sides of the debate. Library Journal A rich ... interesting book... Choosing Schools is relentlessly fair in its efforts to stay true to the data. -- Jeffrey R. Henig Journal of Politics
EAN: 9780691092836
ISBN: 0691092834
Untertitel: Revised. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: April 2002
Seitenanzahl: 336 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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