In this ambitious compendium, authors pull together school-choice
research as it pertains to student outcomes; parent choice; and competition and
segregation effects. Through its chapters, the volume does a mighty fine job
answering some tough questions relating to school choice: Do charters cream? Do
vouchers in D.C. work? What criteria do parents use when choosing a school? Do
students availing themselves of choice programs experience greater achievement
in their new schools? Researchers of various stripes, including Paul Peterson
and John Witte, pull data from Indianapolis to the Netherlands. The bottom
line: We’re headed in the right direction—but there’s a lot we could do better.
To that end, School Choice and School
Improvement calls out some of the hang-ups in the school-choice movement
(the underwhelming effects of intradistrict transfer being one and high school
application processes that derail some would-be school-choice students being
another). It also gives some practical advice (e.g.: how to disseminate school
information to parents). This volume offers a balanced, above-the-fray look at look
the current realities and future possibilities of choice in our schools.