School choice is a hot topic in the United States. Private school vouchers, public charter schools, open enrollment, and homeschooling all regularly appear on the policy agenda as ways to improve the educational experience and outcomes for students, parents, and the broader society. Pundits often make claims about the various ways in which parents select schools and thus customize their child’s education. What claims about school choice are grounded in actual evidence?
This book presents systematic reviews of the social science research regarding critical aspects of parental school choice. How do parents choose schools and what do they seek? What effects do their choices have on the racial integration of schools and the performance of the schools that serve non-choosing students? What features of public charter schools are related to higher student test scores? What effects does school choice have on important non-cognitive outcomes including parent satisfaction, student character traits, and how far students go in school? What do we know about homeschooling as a school choice? This book, originally published as a special issue of the Journal of School Choice, provides evidence-based answers to those vital questions.
Table of Contents
Introduction — School choice: Separating fact from fiction 1. How do parents choose schools, and what schools do they choose? A literature review of private school choice programs in the United States 2. Can we have it all? A review of the impacts of school choice on racial integration 3. Evidence on charter school practices related to student enrollment and retention 4. Do self-interested schooling selections improve society? A review of the evidence 5. What’s the secret ingredient? Searching for policies and practices that make charter schools successful 6. A review of the research on parent satisfaction in private school choice programs 7. A systematic review of the empirical research on selected aspects of homeschooling as a school choice 8. Can I choose to have grit? Non-cognitive skills, behavior, and school choice 9. Educational attainment effects of public and private school choice
Patrick J. Wolf is Distinguished Professor of Education Policy and 21st Century Chair in School Choice in the Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas, USA.