The Social Cost of Open Enrollment as a School Choice Policy
We evaluate the integrating and segregating effects of school choice in a large, urban school district. Our findings, based on applications for fall 2001, suggest that open enrollment, a school-choice program that does not have explicit integrative objectives and does not provide busing, segregates students along three socioeconomic dimensions – race/ethnicity, student achievement and parental-education status. Using information on expenditures to promote integration at the district, we back out estimates of the social cost of open enrollment realized in terms of student segregation. Our social-cost estimates range widely depending on the weights that we place on the different dimensions of integration. However, even using conservative valuations of the different integrative measures suggests a social cost at this single district of over 3.4 million dollars (in year-2000 dollars). When considered in the context of the nation as a whole, where open- enrollment programs are commonplace, this estimate from a single district is substantial. However, we also note that there may be benefits not related to integration that counterbalance some or all of these costs.
|Date of creation:||18 Sep 2009|
|Date of revision:||13 Apr 2010|
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