Panel: Is Choice the Same for Everyone? School Choice Policies and the Distribution of Students to Schools

Saturday, November 10, 2018: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Lincoln 3 - Exhibit Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Richard S. L. Blissett, Seton Hall University
Discussants:  Walker A. Swain, University of Georgia

Do the Effects of Charter School Networks Deflate As the Networks Expand?
Philip Gleason, Ira Nichols-Barrer and Thomas Coen, Mathematica Policy Research

Who Applies When Schools Are Stigmatized: The Effect of NYC’s “Renewal Schools” Program on Applications
Nicholas D.E. Mark, New York University and Jennifer Jennings, Princeton University

Purchasing Seats for High School Admission in China
Congyi Zhou, New York University

Systems of school choice have proliferated domestically and internationally, with researchers debating the role of school choice in shaping educational opportunity as well as class and race based stratification of students (Belfield and Levin 2015; Henig 1995). However, less is known about how the specific design details and implementation of choice systems influence the distribution of students to schools. Indeed, small changes in policy, the availability of information, or the distribution of power between schools, districts, and parents may have large impacts on which schools students can and do attend. This is an important and timely topic amid concerns about increasing segregation and widening achievement gaps (Owens, Reardon, and Jencks 2016; Reardon and Owens 2014; Reardon 2011). Each paper on this panel focuses on a specific aspect of the design of school choice systems in the US and abroad. The topics include an examination of the welfare effects of allowing students to pay for seats at schools in China, the implications of centralization reforms to the school choice system in Chile, and the effect of an informational label on high school applications in New York City. The panel makes a contribution to our understanding of how specific aspects of school choice policies can influence the distribution of students to schools while providing critically useful information for policymakers concerned with the potential influence of the details of the implementation of their school choice systems.

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