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Charter School Quality and Parental Decision Making with School Choice

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Author Info

  • Eric A. Hanushek

    ()
    (Hoover Institution, Stanford University)

  • John F. Kain

    (School of Social Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas)

  • Steven G. Rivkin

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Amherst College)

  • Gregory F. Branch

    ()
    (University of Texas at Dallas)

Abstract

Charter schools have become a very popular instrument for reforming public schools, because they expand choices, facilitate local innovation, and provide incentives for the regular public schools while remaining under public control. Despite their conceptual appeal, evaluating their performance has been hindered by the selective nature of their student populations. This paper investigates the quality of charter schools in Texas in terms of mathematics and reading achievement and finds that, after an initial start-up period, average school quality in the charter sector is not significantly different from that in regular public schools. Perhaps most important, the parental decision to exit a charter school is much more sensitive to education quality than the decision to exit a regular public school, consistent with the notion that the introduction of charter schools substantially reduces the transactions costs of switching schools. Low income charter school families are, however, less sensitive to school quality than higher income families.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 04-024.

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Date of creation: Jun 2005
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Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:04-024

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  1. Derek Neal, 1994. "The Effect of Catholic Secondary Schooling on Educational Attainment," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 95, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
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  11. Hanushek, Eric A. & Kain, John F. & Rivkin, Steven G., 2004. "Disruption versus Tiebout improvement: the costs and benefits of switching schools," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1721-1746, August.
  12. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F3-F33, February.
  13. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2002. "New Evidence about Brown v. Board of Education: The Complex Effects of School Racial Composition on Achievement," NBER Working Papers 8741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1999. "The Pre-Program Earnings Dip and the Determinants of Participation in a Social Program: Implications for Simple Program Evaluation Strategies," NBER Working Papers 6983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. William Sander, 1996. "Catholic Grade Schools and Academic Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 540-548.
  17. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin & Daniel M. O'Brien, 2005. "The Market for Teacher Quality," Discussion Papers 04-025, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  18. Tim R. Sass, 2006. "Charter Schools and Student Achievement in Florida," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 91-122, January.
  19. Robert Bifulco & Helen F. Ladd, 2006. "The Impacts of Charter Schools on Student Achievement: Evidence from North Carolina," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 50-90, January.
  20. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2002. "Inferring Program Effects for Special Populations: Does Special Education Raise Achievement for Students with Disabilities?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 584-599, November.
  21. Evans, William N & Schwab, Robert M, 1995. "Finishing High School and Starting College: Do Catholic Schools Make a Difference?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 941-74, November.
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