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Public school choice programs

Question:
What percentage of students are enrolled in school choice programs?

Response:
From 1993 to 2007, the percentage of children attending a "chosen" public school (a public school other than their assigned public school) increased from 11 to 16 percent, while the percentage of children attending an assigned public school decreased from 80 to 73 percent. The percentages of children attending private schools also increased between 1993 and 2007 (from 8 to 9 percent for private church-related schools and from 2 to 3 percent for private not church-related schools).

Some choice among public schools was available to 46 percent of students in 2007, according to their parents' reports. Public school choice was available to a greater percentage of students in the West (55 percent) and Midwest (55 percent) than those in the South (41 percent) and Northeast (33 percent), and to a greater percentage of students in cities (52 percent) than those in the suburbs (40 percent). No measurable differences were detected among racial/ethnic groups in terms of parents' reports of having a choice among public schools for their children.

Among students whose parents reported having public school choice, approximately 25 percent attended a chosen public school, while 67 percent attended their assigned school. The other 9 percent attended a private school. For parents who reported having public school choice, the percentage of students actually attending a chosen public school varied by race/ethnicity and locale. A greater percentage of Black students (36 percent) attended a chosen public school than their White (20 percent) and Hispanic (26 percent) peers. A greater percentage of students in cities (32 percent) attended a chosen public school than students in the suburbs (20 percent), towns (20 percent), and rural areas (21 percent).

Another form of parental choice is to move to a neighborhood so one's child can attend a particular school. In 2007, the parents of 27 percent of public school students reported that they had moved to their current neighborhood so that their child could attend his or her current school. A greater percentage of Whites (29 percent) than Blacks (18 percent) and Hispanics (25 percent), and suburban students (33 percent) than students living in other locales (2023 percent) moved to their current neighborhood so their child could attend the school.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2009). The Condition of Education 2009 (NCES 2009-081), Indicator 32.

Percentage distribution of students in grades 112, by type of school: 1993, 2003, and 2007

Type of school

1993 2003 2007
Public, assigned 79.9 73.9 73.2
Public, chosen 11.0 15.4 15.5
Private, church-related 7.5 8.4 8.7
Private, not church-related 1.6 2.4 2.6

NOTE: Data for 1993 and 2003 include homeschooled students enrolled in public or private schools for 9 or more hours per week. Data for 2007 exclude all homeschoolers. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2009). The Condition of Education 2009 (NCES 2009-081), Table A-32-1.

Related Tables and Figures:  (Listed by Release Date)

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education