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Segregation by choice? The debate so far

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  • Rich Harris

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    Abstract

    This paper offers an extensive review and bibliography of the literature on school choice, and its effects on social and ethnic segregation between English schools. It finds that the evidence concerning whether “school choice” legislation has acted to increase or decrease the socio-ethnic mix within schools is open to multiple interpretations, affected by how segregation is conceptualised and measured. Difficulties in reaching definite conclusions are compounded by the changing economic and demographic landscapes that confound attempts to show whether policies of school choice cause or reduce segregation. By the author’s judgement the policies have reinforced geographies of social segregation and of ethnic polarization in some places. However, this is not a failure of the principle of choice necessarily. Rather, it is a function of the constraints placed on that choice and an implicit if less spoken recognition of the value of local schooling.

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    File URL: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/papers/2010/wp251.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 10/251.

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    Length: 32 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:10/251

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    Related research

    Keywords: Schools; choice; social segregation; ethnic segregation; segregation indices; education policy;

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