Short-Term and Long-Term Impacts of School Choice
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The central question about school choice is whether students who participate in choice have better outcomes than they would otherwise obtain. Given evidence that switching schools can temporarily lower student's academic performance, it is important to examine how students who participate in school choice perform immediately after entering a program but also several to many years later. For this reason, the papers in the panel emphasize the importance of examining impacts at various points in time after a student enters, or applies to enter, a school choice program.
The proposed panel brings together four research projects designed to examine the impact of school choice on a variety of academic and behavioral outcomes, both immediately after students enter the program and in the medium and longer term. The programs encompass four of the most widespread and controversial types of choice, with three studies of the United States and one study of Chile. Two studies examine statewide voucher programs in Louisiana and Indiana. Another paper studies Chile's nationwide school voucher system. The fourth study examines magnet school, open enrollment, and a program that uses voluntary busing to integrate a large school district in southern California. All three voucher studies examine impacts one versus several years after enrollment in the choice program. The California study examines a number of outcomes during the secondary school years, as well as postsecondary enrollment and postsecondary degree attainment up to six years after high school graduation.
Just as effects may vary over time, the impact of school choice programs could vary by subject area and student demographic group. The papers examine both math and reading achievement and variations in impact by student subgroup.
The papers use either lotteries to generate an randomized control trial, or rigorous quasi-experimental methods that account for students' past academic trajectory.
The panel brings together considerable diversity in expertise, with paper presenters who specialize in political science, sociology and economics, and other panel members whose postgraduate training includes education policy, economics, law and public affairs. The panel includes two practitioners for whom research is relevant to their work with the U.S. Department of Education and as a member of the Illinois State Board of Education.