Monday, November 10, 2008

information availability and school choice program participation

It has been shown that low-income families put less weight on academic quality when choosing schools. They are less likely to take part in school-choice programs, in which they can apply for their children to attend a different school than originally assigned based on geography. This implies that school-choice programs may not have as large of a benefit for low-income families than may be possible, if they were more likely to take advantage of such programs.

In a recent QJE article, Justine S. Hastings (Yale) and Jeffrey M. Weinstein (Syracuse) consider show that providing low-income families with data on school performance increases the probability that they participate in a school-choice program. They find "that school choice will most effectively increase academic achievement for disadvantaged students when parents have easy access to test score information and good options from which to choose."

Download the article.

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