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Do Centralized Enrollment Systems Give Families What They Want?

Jane Lincove

Date & Time
Thursday, February 15, 2018
11:00am–12:00 pm
Conference Room 760
1555 Poydras, Suite 700
New Orleans LA 70112 Map and directions

Research Team: Jon Valant, ​Brookings Institution​; Josh Cowen, ​Michigan State UniversityPlease note that this brown bag will take place at 11 a.m. on Thurs­day, Feb. 15. This depar­ture from our usu­al time and day is due to sched­ul­ing con­straints. Stu­dents in the U.S. have his­tor­i­cal­ly been assigned to schools based on their neigh­bor­hood of res­i­dence, but recent pol­i­cy changes have focused on the mar­ket-based approach of expand­ing par­ent choice via char­ter schools, mag­net schools, and gen­er­al open enroll­ment to pub­lic schools. Pri­or research sug­gests that cen­tral­ized school assign­ment lot­ter­ies (such as the New Orleans OneApp) improve the allo­ca­tion of school seats both in terms of effi­cien­cy and equi­ty, but at an indi­vid­ual lev­el, many fam­i­lies are still unable to access their top-choice schools due to capac­i­ty con­straints. In this brown bag, we present results of a study that exam­ines the degree to which fam­i­lies in a choice set­ting can access the schools and school qual­i­ty they seek. Specif­i­cal­ly, we address the ques­tions: How often do stu­dents get the assign­ments their par­ents want­ed? How do final stu­dent assign­ments com­pare to first-choice schools in terms of mul­ti­ple qual­i­ty mea­sures? Final­ly, what does this mean for the the­o­ry that schools in choice sys­tems will improve through com­pe­ti­tion for students?

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