Making School Choice Work

A new study by the Center on Reinvention Public Education finds that many parents, especially those with special needs children, face barriers that limit their ability to choose schools, even in cities with large school choice programs.

The question facing civic and education leaders today isn’t whether school choice will shape city school systems, but how. Prior research suggests reasons for both optimism and concern: parents are generally satisfied with choice, and students in choice schools can benefit academically, but choice also has the potential to increase social stratification when the most disadvantaged families are the least likely
to choose.

In cities with multiple public school options, how can civic leaders create a choice system that works for all families, whether they choose a charter or district public school?


To answer this question, CRPE researchers surveyed 4,000 parents in eight cities (Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.) with high degrees of school choice. The researchers also conducted interviews with government officials, choice advocates, and community leaders in four cities, and looked at how many different agencies oversee schools in 35 cities.