Posts Tagged ‘Inter-district and intra-district choice’

School Choice Bills Prominent in State Legislatures

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

State legislatures across the country have been busy considering various school choice bills.  Just last week, both houses of the Maine state legislature passed a bill to establish a charter school program in that state.  All that remains is for Governor Paul LePage to sign the bill into law for Maine to become the 41st state to pass charter school legislation since 1991.  The Oregon legislature recently passed a package of education bills, including ones to expand virtual charter school enrollment and allow intra-district school choice, on a space available basis.  The most recent Choice Center book, School Choice and School Improvement, includes a chapter dedicated to the effects of intra-district school choice transfers.  You can see the appendix for the chapter here.

Southern states are also in on this trend.  North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue signed a charter school bill this month.  The new law removes the cap on the number of charter schools in the state, which previously stood at 100, and chartering authority continues to be controlled by the State Board of Education.  In Tennessee, Governor Bill Haslam recently signed a bill that removes the cap on the number of charter schools as well as restrictions on student eligibility to attend charter schools.  State legislators play a key role in the school choice debate.  In School Choice Agenda Setting: A National Analysis of Individual State Legislators, researchers Francis Shen and Kenneth Wong explore this role.  To find out what political and policy conditions have been found to facilitate charter reform and growth, see another paper by Wong and Shen, Charter Law and Charter Outcomes: Re-Examining the Charter School Marketplace.

With all of the interest in new charter legislation, research is as important as ever.  Be sure to visit our research publications page for more on what our studies have found.  Particularly relevant to these latest developments is the section on policy and governance.  Check out Differences that Make a Difference: An Examination of the Relationship between Charter Law “Strength” and Student Achievement.

More Parents are Sending Children to Schools of Choice

Thursday, April 29th, 2010
New Report Covers Public and Private Schools

School choice is growing in popularity. The percentage of parents in a national survey reporting that their children attend public schools of choice increased from 11 to 16 percent between 1993 and 2007, according to a new report by the U.S Department of Education. The popularity of private schools rose, too, although not as sharply. The percentage of parents sending their children to private schools, both religious and nonsectarian, during that period increased from 10 to 12 percent of the total.

The survey also measured parent satisfaction with schools. Between 2003 and 2007, the percentage of students attending their parents’ first-choice public school rose from 83 percent to 88 percent. Slightly more than a quarter of public school students had parents who reported moving to a neighborhood for the school, regardless of whether it was an assigned or chosen school. A majority of parents reported satisfaction with their child’s school, regardless of the type, though the satisfaction tended to be highest for public schools of choice and private schools.

The findings are based on responses in the National Household Education Survey, which asked thousands of parents about their children’s education in 1993, 1996, 1999, 2003 and 2007. For the first time in 2007 the report breaks out information on enrollment in charter schools and characteristics of homeschooled students. That year, 2 percent of students were enrolled in charter schools, a majority of them in cities. That increase is due in some part to rapid growth in the sector. Between 2002-03 and 2006-07, the number of charter schools increased from nearly 2,600 to more than 4,100 and the number of jurisdictions allowing them grew from 36 to 41. Homeschooled students, who made up nearly 3 percent of total enrollment, according to the 2007 survey, were more likely to live in rural areas or suburbs than in cities.

In 2007, black and Hispanic students were more likely than whites to enroll in public schools of choice (24, 17 and 13 percent, respectively), while low-income students were more likely than wealthier peers to choose those schools. Students at chosen public schools also were more likely to live in cities than suburbs or rural areas. For private schools, parents’ wealth and education made a difference. Higher percentages of parents with more income and education chose religious and nonsectarian private schools than did parents with lower levels of income and education. The report contains many more breakdowns of demographic characteristics for each year of the survey.

The telephone survey asked parents whether their children attended public or private schools. If the answer was public, they were asked if they chose the school or it was assigned. If they said private, the interviewer asked if it was religious or nonsectarian.

The report notes that school choice offerings have expanded greatly over the last several decades and that parents in some communities can now choose from an array of public school options beyond their assigned neighborhood school, including charter schools, intra-district and inter-district choice plans and magnet schools, as well as options for sending their children to private schools, aided in some areas by publicly financed vouchers. They also can choose to school their children at home.

Read the full report “Trends in the Use of School Choice: 1993 to 2007.”


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The NCSC is funded by a 5 year, $13.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. Its lead institution is Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The center is housed on the campus of Peabody College, one of the nation's top graduate schools of education.