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Public school choice programs

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

Response:

In 2012, 13 percent of the students in traditional public schools were in a school chosen by their parents rather than an assigned school. There were differences in the characteristics of students attending their local assigned public schools in 2012 compared to those in public schools chosen by their parents. For example, White students made up a higher percentage of those in assigned schools (53 percent) than of those in chosen schools (40 percent). In contrast, Black students made up a higher percentage of those in chosen schools (22 percent) than of those in assigned schools (14 percent). Hispanic students also made up a higher percentage of those in chosen schools (27 percent) than of those in assigned schools (23 percent). Students in cities made up a higher percentage of those in chosen schools (46 percent) than of those in assigned schools (25 percent). In contrast, students in rural areas made up a higher percentage of those in assigned schools (26 percent) than of those in chosen schools (14 percent).

Compared with students in assigned public schools, a higher percentage of students in chosen public schools had parents who were very satisfied with some elements of their children's education in 2012. Among students in grades 3 through 12, the percentage of students whose parents were very satisfied with their school was higher for students in chosen schools (56 percent) than for students in assigned schools (52 percent). Similarly, the percentage of students whose parents were very satisfied with academic standards was higher for students in chosen schools (59 percent) than for students in assigned schools (53 percent). Also, higher percentages of students in chosen schools had parents who were very satisfied with school order and discipline as well as with staff interaction with parents. However, there was no measurable difference between the percentages of students in chosen and assigned public schools whose parents were highly satisfied with the teachers in their school (52 percent each).

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). Digest of Education Statistics, 2014 (NCES 2016-006), Chapter 2.

Percentage of students enrolled in grades 1 through 12 whose parents reported having public school choice, considered other schools, reported current school was their first choice, or moved to their current neighborhood for the public school, by school type: 2012
School type1 Public choice available Considered other schools School was parent's first choice Moved to neighborhood for public school2
Public, assigned 27.8 24.2 77.5 20.3
Public, chosen3 100.0 53.1 79.3 9.8
Private, religious 20.7 46.5 87.2
Private, nonsectarian 21.2 61.5 88.9

† Not applicable.

1 There were 160 cases excluded from the school type analysis because parents reported the school as a private school when it was later found to be a public school, and therefore questions about whether the school was assigned were not asked.

2 This column shows percentages of public school students only. Private school students are excluded from the analysis.

3 Students who attended chosen public schools were automatically coded as "yes" for whether or not their district allowed public school choice.

NOTE: Data exclude homeschooled children.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). Digest of Education Statistics, 2014 (NCES 2016-006), Table 206.40 .

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