Similar Students, Different Choices: Who Uses a School Voucher in an Otherwise Similar Population of Students?
Education and Urban Society, December 2013, 0013124513511268. doi: 10.1177/0013124513511268
Posted: 19 Sep 2015 Last revised: 22 Sep 2015
Date Written: December 19, 2013
We examine what factors predict why some parents enroll their children in voucher schools while other parents with similar types of children and from similar neighborhoods do not. Furthermore, we investigate how aware parents are of their educational options, where they get their information, and what school characteristics they deem the most important. To answer these questions, we analyze the school choice patterns in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. Using survey data, we compare responses from a representative sample of voucher parents and a matched sample of public school parents. While public school parents have higher incomes than voucher parents do, voucher parents have more years of education on average. We find that parents in both sectors rely heavily on their social networks to gain information about school options. Finally, we conclude that religion plays an important role in explaining why some parents use vouchers while others do not.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation