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Peabody Journal of Education, Volume 84, Issue 2, 2009

Special Issue on Informing the Future of School Choice Policy


Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations is delighted to offer this "Special Issue on Informing the Future of School Choice Policy," a publication dedicated to an analysis of the consequences of school choice in a post-desegregation era. The rapid growth in public charter, magnet, and other alternative schools and the existing school choice policies for students at failing schools established by the federal No Child Left Behind legislation have undoubtedly affected the social context of America's schools. In November of 2007, the Center for Education Policy Analysis at the University of Connecticut brought together researchers and practitioners to discuss the impact that recent school choice policies and legal decisions have had on the demographic composition of schools. Guest editors Casey Cobb, Courtney Bell, and Robert Bifulco have generously coordinated the research presented at this symposium to share here with our readers.

The special issue's first three articles address potential consequences school choice programs may have on school segregation by race, social class, and language group. Koedel, Betts, Rice and Zau investigate segregation effects by parental education level, language status, and student test scores in San Diego and consider the role transportation options play for parental choice. Bifulco, Ladd, and Ross study school choice policies in Durham, North Carolina to determine how the demographic composition of assigned neighborhood schools are affected and which students are most likely to take advantage of school choice. An article by Holme and Richards similarly addresses inter-district choice in Denver, Colorado.

The next several articles consider parents' internal motivations and decision-making processes that lead to the choice of where to send their children to school. Saporito uses 1990 and 2000 data to examine the relationship between private school enrollment rates and the racial composition of school districts. Bell's research studies parents' differing "choice sets," or group of schools that parents see as potential education options for their children. She finds that parents' choices are constrained by income, transportation, and information, but also emotional and social concerns for their children. Smrekar explores the effect of desegregation policies on school choice by measuring the racial composition of magnet schools in Nashville, Tennessee, both before and after unitary status.

Scott and Villavicencio further take on school choice policy issues by investigating student achievement in charter schools, alongside the racial composition and social context of the school. Finally, Huerta posits that despite school choice freedoms, the dominance of state and local institutional definitions and norms still inhibit charter school innovation. Cobb and Glass have written the issue's concluding piece in an effort to summarize the findings presented here and to suggest implications for school choice policy.

The Peabody Journal of Education would like to extend our gratitude to Casey Cobb, Courtney Bell, and Robert Bifulco for coordinating this outstanding issue. We would also like to thank each of the authors that contributed their insightful research. We hope that the research findings presented in this special issue influence future policy considerations around school choice and encourage discussions about the potential effects for students, both intended and unintended.

 

CONTENTS
Journal abstracts are linked to titles.

Introduction to the Special Issue on Informing the Future of School Choice Policy
Casey Cobb, Courtney Bell, and Robert Bifulco
Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 84, No. 2: pages 107-109.

The Integrating and Segregating Effects of School Choice
Cory Koedel, Julian R. Betts, Lorien A. Rice, and Andrew C. Zau
Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 84, No. 2: pages 110-129.

The Effects of Public School Choice on Those Left Behind: Evidence from Durham, North Carolina
Robert Bifulco, Helen F. Ladd, and Stephen Ross
Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 84, No. 2: pages 130-149.

School Choice and Stratification in a Regional Context: Examining the Role of Inter-District Choice
Jennifer Jellison Holme and Meredith P. Richards
Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 84, No. 2: pages 150-171.

School Choice in Black and White: Private School Enrollment Among Racial Groups, 1990-2000
Salvatore Saporito
Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 84, No. 2: pages 172-190.

All Choices Created Equal? The Role of Choice Sets in the Selection of Schools
Courtney A. Bell
Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 84, No. 2: pages 191-208.

Beyond the Tipping Point: Issues of Racial Diversity in Magnet Schools Following Unitary Status
Claire Smrekar
Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 84, No. 2: pages 209-226.

School Context and Charter School Achievement: A Framework for Understanding the Performance "Black Box"
Janelle Scott and Adriana Villavicencio
Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 84, No. 2: pages 227-243.

Institutional v. Technical Environments: Reconciling the Goals of Decentralization in an Evolving Charter School Organization
Luis A. Huerta
Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 84, No. 2: pages 244-261.

School Choice in a Post-Desegregation World
Casey D. Cobb and Gene V. Glass
Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 84, No. 2: pages 262-278.


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