What Do Parents Want? An Exploration of School Preferences Expressed by Boston Parents

33 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2013

See all articles by Edward L. Glaeser

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Steven Poftak

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Kristina Tobio

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Date Written: July 16, 2013

Abstract

This working paper seeks to determine the preferences of Boston parents for certain school attributes. It analyzes data provided by the Boston Public Schools and the Massachusetts School Building Authority to determine what factors are most closely correlated with popular schools in Boston’s public school lottery. The report finds that parents favor closer schools and schools with higher levels of academic achievement (as measured by the MCAS test). It also finds that certain school structures – K1 (over K2 only) schools and K-8 (over K-5) schools – are preferred. The working paper found that other school offerings, both structural and programs, did not matter. Overall school size, computer facilities, and gyms did not have a significant impact. Art, music, and science lab facilities had minimal or no impact. The working paper also provides detailed information on how neighborhood, racial composition, and socio-economic conditions impact school preferences.

Keywords: Education, Primary Education, Secondary Education, Boston Public Schools

Suggested Citation

Glaeser, Edward L. and Poftak, Steven and Tobio, Kristina, What Do Parents Want? An Exploration of School Preferences Expressed by Boston Parents (July 16, 2013). HKS Working Paper No. RWP13-024. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2326711 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2326711

Edward L. Glaeser (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Brookings Institution

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Steven Poftak

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Kristina Tobio

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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