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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 University

Please 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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