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Choosing Schools : Consumer Choice and the Quality of American Schools - Mark Schneider

Choosing Schools

Consumer Choice and the Quality of American Schools

Paperback

Published: 7th April 2002
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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.

The authors analyze what parents value in education, how much they know about schools, how well they can match what they say they want in schools with what their children get, how satisfied they are with their children's schools, and how their involvement in the schools is affected by the opportunity to choose. They discover, most notably, that low-income parents value education as much as, if not more than, high-income parents, but do not have access to the same quality of school information. This problem comes under sensitive, thorough scrutiny as do a host of other important topics, from school performance to segregation to children at risk of being left behind.

Winner of the Aaron Wildavsky Best Book Award "[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

List of Figuresp. vii
List of Tablesp. ix
Acknowlegmentsp. xiii
Introduction School Choice, Parent Incentives, and the Use of Informationp. 3
Reinventing the Governance Structure of Education: School Choice as Educational Reformp. 21
Parent Behavior and the Demand Side of School Choicep. 39
Studying Choice: The Research Designp. 59
The Distribution of Preferences: What Do Parents Want from Schools?p. 87
How Do Parents Search for Information?p. 108
Building Social Networks to Search for Information about Schoolsp. 126
The Distribution of Knowledge: How Much Do Parents Know about the Schools?p. 149
Allocational Efficiency: You Can't Always Get What You Want -- But Some Dop. 164
Productive Efficiency: Does School Choice Affect Academic Performance?p. 185
Does Choice Increase Segregation and Stratification?p. 204
Choosing Together Is Better than Bowling Alone: School Choice and the Creation of Social Capitalp. 223
Opting Out of Public Schools: Can Choice Affect the Relationship between Private and Public Schools?p. 238
Conclusion
Myths and Markets: Choice Is No Panacea, But It Does Workp. 261
Notesp. 275
Referencesp. 285
Indexp. 307
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691092836
ISBN-10: 0691092834
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 7th April 2002
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.2  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.48