In the United States, school choice programs, which offer students increased opportunities to attend public schools outside their neighborhoods, have become a popular strategy for trying to improve academic achievement. Researchers used a random lottery from oversubscribed schools to test the impact of a public school choice program on student outcomes in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Lottery winners experienced mixed results in terms of test scores, college enrollment, and degree completion depending on their race or gender. White, female lottery winners had higher test scores than white females who lost the lottery. However, black, Hispanic and multiracial male and female students and white male students did not experience gains in educational outcomes.
In the United States, school choice programs, which offer students increased opportunities to attend public schools outside their neighborhoods, have become a popular strategy for trying to improve academic achievement. If parents send their children to higher achieving schools, students could have access to more resources, accomplished peers, or programs that better suit their learning needs, which may lead to better education outcomes. Additionally, theory suggests that public school choice plans could put pressure on under-performing schools to improve to avoid losing students. However, the evidence to date on the impact of public school choice plans on academic outcomes and school quality is mixed1 . Does attending a first-choice school improve educational outcomes? What factors influence whether public school choice plans raise school participation, improve learning, or increase college enrollment?