Trending Topic Research File: School Choice
Trending Topic Research File: School Choice
School Choice

Trending Topic Research File

Programs that offer students and their parents options to local public schools – including vouchers, charter schools, magnet schools, and open enrollment – are increasingly common and hotly debated. In recent years, AERA’s journals have examined many aspects of school choice, including: 

  • Who participates in these programs
  • What is the impact on student achievement
  • What happens to students who leave programs 

The following compendium of open-access articles is inclusive of all substantive AERA journal content regarding school choice published since 2009. This page will be updated as new articles are published.  

AERA Journal Articles

Note: Articles are listed below in reverse chronological order of publication. Click here for the list by author’s last name

Converging on Choice: The Interstate flow of Foundation Dollars to Charter school Organizations
Educational Researcher, November 2017
Researchers found that between 2009 and 2014, foundations were increasingly converging their funding flows to charter school organziations in select clusters of states as they shifted the concentration of funds away from individual charter schools to charter management organizations (CMOs) and advocacy organizations. 
Authors: Joseph J. Ferrare, R. Renee Setari

Public School Choice and Student Achievement: Evidence From Michigan's Interdistrict Open Enrollment System
AERA Open, September 2017
This study compares charter and traditional public schools in Detroit, Michigan, on perceived school safety by linking student surveys to data on school, neighborhood, and parent-related characteristics. 
Authors: Joshua Cowen, Benjamin Creed

Are Charter Schools Safer in Deindustrialized Cities with High Rates of Crime? Testing Hypotheses in Detroit
American Educational Research Journal, May 2017
This study compares charter and traditional public schools in Detroit, Michigan, on perceived school safety by linking student surveys to data on school, neighborhood, and parent-related characteristics. 
Author: Daniel Hamlin

The Effects of School Turnaround in Tennessee's Acievemtn School District and Innovation Zones
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, May 2017
The authors examined the effects of three turnaround strategies implemented in Tennessee and found that iZone schools, which ere separately managed by by three districts, substantially improved student achievement. 
Authors: Ron Zimmer, Gary T. Henry, Adam Kho

Market Signals: Evidence on the Determinants and Consequences of School Choice from a Citywide Lottery
Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, April 2017
Simulations suggest segregation by race and income would be reduced and enrollment in high-performing schools increased if policymakers were to relax school capacity constraints in individual campuses.
Authors: Steven GlazermanDallas Dotter

Vouchers in the Bayou: The Effects of the Louisiana Scholarship Program on Student Achievement After Two Years
Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, February 2017
The findings indicate that the use of an LSP scholarship has negatively affected both English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics achievement.
Authors: Jonathan N. MillsPatrick J. Wolf

Does Attending a Charter School Reduce the Likelihood of Being Placed Into Special Education? Evidence From Denver, Colorado
Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, February 2017
Researchers found evidence that attending a Denver charter school reduces the likelihood that a student is classified as having a specific learning disability, which is the largest and most subjectively diagnosed disability category.
AuthorsMarcus A. WintersDick M. CarpenterGrant Clayton 

The Variation in Student Achievement and Attendance within a Portfolio Management Model: Early Results from New Orleans
Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, December 2016
The results indicated many of the sector and school type combinations that produced higher math and English Language Arts achievement also positively impacted students’ behavior.
Authors: Andrew J. McEachin 

“Every Kid Is Money” Market-Like Competition and School Leader Strategies in New Orleans
Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, December 2015
Findings suggest that school leaders experienced market pressures due to school choice, however their responses to pressures varied, with some taking steps toward school improvement whereas others engaged in marketing or cream skimming.
Author: Huriya Jabbar

Competitive Networks and School Leaders’ Perceptions: The Formation of an Education Marketplace in Post-Katrina New Orleans
American Educational Research Journal, September 2015
The author studied principals’ competitive networks and the sets of schools they view as rivals, and used network and statistical analysis to explore factors that explain the existence of a competitive tie between two schools.
Author: Huriya Jabbar 

The Uneven Performance of Arizona’s Charter Schools
Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, May 2015 This article used student-level data covering all Arizona students from 2006 to 2012 to find that the performance of charter schools in Arizona in improving student achievement varied widely though on average were modestly less effective than TPS in raising student achievement.
Authors: Matthew M. Chingos, Martin R. West 

Understanding the Gap in Special Education Enrollments Between Charter and Traditional Public Schools: Evidence From Denver, Colorado
Educational Researcher, April 2015
A widely cited report by the federal Government Accountability Office found that charter schools enroll a significantly smaller percentage of students with disabilities than do traditional public schools. This article found that the special education gap in elementary and middle school begins because students with disabilities are less likely to apply to charter schools in gateway grades and more than doubles as students’ progress between kindergarten and the fifth grade.
Author: Marcus A. Winters 

Student Selection, Attrition, and Replacement in KIPP Middle Schools
Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, January 2015
Authors: Ira Nichols-Barrer, Philip Gleason, Brian Gill, Christina Clark Tuttle 

Do Charter Schools Improve Student Achievement?
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, December 2014
Based on a lottery-based study of the impacts of a set of 33 charter middle schools across 13 states on student achievement, researchers found more positive impacts for more disadvantaged schools and students and more negative impacts for the more advantaged.
Authors: Melissa A. Clark, Philip M. Gleason, Christina Clark Tuttle, Marsha K. Silverberg 

High-Stakes Choice: Achievement and Accountability in the Nation’s Oldest Urban Voucher Program
Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, June 2014
Researchers’ results indicate substantial growth for students using publicly funded vouchers in the first high-stakes testing year, particularly in mathematics, and for students with higher levels of earlier academic achievement.
Authors: John F. Witte, Patrick J. Wolf, Joshua M. Cowen, Deven E. Carlson, David J. Fleming 

Contexts Matter: Selections in Means-Tested School Voucher Programs
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, June 2014
This study examines the characteristics associated with participating in a means-tested school voucher program in Florida, finding that when considered together, these factors can predict voucher use.
Author: Cassandra M. D. Hart  

Is There Empirical Evidence That Charter Schools “Push Out” Low-Performing Students?
Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis December 2013
Using data from an anonymous major urban school district, the authors find no empirical evidence to support claims that charter schools are more likely to push out low-achieving students than are traditional public schools.
Authors: Ron W. Zimmer, Cassandra M. Guarino  

Gender Gaps in College Enrollment: The Role of Gender Sorting Across Public High Schools
Educational Researcher October 2013
Using Florida administrative data, the authors found evidence of gender sorting across public high schools and use regression and decomposition techniques to find that gender-sorting explains higher rates of college enrollment among Hispanic and African-American females in counties where a larger share of students attend private, magnet, charter, and irregular public schools.
Authors: Dylan Conger, Mark C. Long  

Life After Vouchers: What Happens to Students Who Leave Private Schools for the Traditional Public Sector?
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, June 2013
More than 1,000 students who left the citywide voucher program in Milwaukee were analyzed, with the authors finding that in general, transferring students realized substantial achievement gains after transferring to better public schools.
Authors: Deven Carlson, Joshua M. Cowen, David J. Fleming  

Charter Management Organizations and the Regulated Environment: Is It Worth the Price?
Educational Researcher, February 2013
The article scrutinizes four charter management organization (CMO) commonalities, along with their implications: the pervasive adult monitoring of students, targeting behaviors tangential to learning, attributing independent agency to children who deviate, and student derogation by adults.
Author: Joan F. Goodman 

Public Online Charter School Students: Choices, Perceptions, and Traits
American Educational Research Journal June 2012
Examining the reasons for students to choose a public online charter school program and their perceptions of online discussion, the authors found that students who drop out of traditional school are unlikely to stay in online programs unless adequately supported.
Authors: Paul Kim, Flora Hisook Kim, Arafeh Karimi  

Going Public: Who Leaves a Large, Longstanding, and Widely Available Urban Voucher Program?
American Educational Research Journal, April 2012
The authors analyzed data collected as part of an evaluation of Milwaukee’s citywide voucher program, finding several important patterns which suggest a large voucher program may not provide a long-term solution for the most disadvantaged students.
Authors: Joshua M. Cowen, David J. Fleming, John F. Witte, Patrick J. Wolf  

The Effectiveness of Private Voucher Education: Evidence from Structural School Switches
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, June 2011
The authors analyze the effect of private voucher education on student academic performance, finding that private voucher education amounts to about 4% to 6% of a standard deviation in test scores, compared to effects of 15% to 20% of one standard deviation found in Chilean literature.
Authors: Bernardo Lara, Alejandra Mizala, Andrea Repetto  

Public School Response to Special Education Vouchers: The Impact of Florida’s McKay Scholarship Program on Disability Diagnosis and Student Achievement in Public Schools
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, June 2011
Using a panel data set from Florida, the authors find evidence that competition from a voucher program for disabled students decreased the likelihood that students are diagnosed as having mild disabilities yet was positively related to academic achievement in the public schools.
Authors: Marcus A. Winters, Jay P. Greene  

The Determinants of Interdistrict Open Enrollment Flows: Evidence from Two States
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, March 2011
Analyzing the determinants of interdistrict open enrollment flows in Minnesota and Colorado, the authors find that open enrollment flows are driven by student achievement and structural characteristics of districts and that most transfers take place between relatively high-achieving districts.
Authors: Deven Carlson, Lesley Lavery, John F. Witte  

Court-Driven Reform and Equal Educational Opportunity: Centralization, Decentralization, and the Shifting Judicial Role
Review of Educational Research March 2010
This review aims to clarify scholars’ understanding of court-driven reform of educational governance to leverage equal educational opportunities across three major fields, including school choice.
Authors: Benjamin Michael Superfine  

Can Interdistrict Choice Boost Student Achievement? The Case of Connecticut’s Interdistrict Magnet School Program
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, December 2009
Presenting evidence that interdisctrict magnet schools have provided students from Connecticut’s central cities access to less racially and economically isolated education environments, the results of this study indicate that attendance at an interdisctrict magnet high school has positive effects on math and reading achievement of city students and that that attendance at an interdisctrict middle school has positive effects on reading achievement.
Authors: Robert Bifulco, Casey D. Cobb, Courtney Bell  

To Choose or Not to Choose: High School Choice and Graduation in Chicago
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, September 2009
This study examines the consequences of participating in public high school choice in Chicago, finding a modest positive graduation benefit from exercising school choice with no racial/ethnic differences.
Author: Douglas Lee Lauren 

Public Schools Versus Private Schools: Casual Inference With Partial Compliance
Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics March 2009
The authors assess the effects of private school versus public schools on academic achievement using a subset of the longitudinal data from the New York City School Choice Scholarship Program, with results seeming to favor public schools. 
Authors: Hui Jin, Donald B. Rubin

By Author 

Bell, Courtney
Bifulco, Robert –
Carlson, Deven –
Carpenter, Dick M. -
Chingos, Matthew M. -
Clark, Melissa A. - no email available
Clayton, Clark -
Cobb, Casey D. –
Conger, Dylan –
Cowen, Joshua M.
Creed, Benjamin –
Dotter, Dallas - no email available
Ferrare, Joseph J. –
Fleming, David J. –
Gill, Brian - no email available
Glazerman, Steven - 
Gleason, Philip M. - no email available
Goodman, Joan F. -
Greene, Jay P.
Guarino, Cassandra 
Hart, Cassandra M.D.
Henry, Gary T. -
Jabbar, Huriya -
Karimi, Arafeh – no email available
Kho, Adam –
Kim, Paul
Kim, Flora Hisook – no email available
Lara, Bernardo
Lauren, Douglas Lee –
Lavery, Lesley –
Mills, Jonathan N. -
Mizala, Alejandra
Nichols-Barrer, Ira - no email available
Rubin, Donald B. –
Silverberg, Marsha K. -
Superfine, Benjamin Michael
Tuttle, Christina Clark - no email available
Winters, Marcus A.
Witte, John F.
Wolf, Patrick J.
Zimmer, Ron W.
Mark Berends on School Choice

Mark Berends Discusses Research on School Choice Issues
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