Food for thought: Building a high-quality school choice market

Suzannah Herrmann, Ph.D.

Erin Dillon
May 2009

Opening supply and demand is the first step in creating great schools, but having the educational market open is just not enough, argues Erin Dillon from Ed Sector. Using examples of how retail grocery stores and banks expand into low-income neighborhoods, this paper explores the more nuanced understandings of supply and demand and how to build a high-quality, school-choice market. To build the supply of good schools, for example, school reformers need to analyze community needs and assets and map the educational marketplace to know what kind of school a community needs. Also, school reformers need to establish strong community connections through advertising and by gaining public support during the planning stages for the school. Equally important, Dillon argues, that, on the demand side, parents need accurate information to identify and select good options. A lack of knowledge can lead to poor school choices. In Ohio, organizations, such as the Ohio Black Alliance for Educational Options and School Choice Ohio, provide critical services for families needing to learn about school-choice options. Because the paper details the possibilities and recommendations for improvements in school supply and demand, it makes for an interesting read and can be found here.

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