How Do Families Choose Between Public and Private Schools

A Policy Brief on school choice by Jane Arnold Lincove, Joshua M. Cowen, and Jason Imbrogno.

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How Do Families Choose Between Public and Private Schools

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For two decades, education reform in America has focused on giving students choices beyond being assigned by home address to a single traditional district-run public school. This is partly why policymakers in New Orleans and a number of other urban centers have instituted a “portfolio” of publicly-supported education options that includes traditional district-run public schools, public charter schools, and voucher-supported private schools. In theory, competition from charter and voucher schools will create additional pressure for public schools to improve in order to retain students and associated per-capita funding. But whether this competition arises in practice depends on whether families consider both public and voucher schools and how they choose among available school options.