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

See all articles by David J. Fleming

David J. Fleming

Furman University

Joshua Cowen

Michigan State University - College of Education

John F. Witte

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Political Science

Patrick Wolf

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform

Date Written: December 19, 2013

Abstract

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

Fleming, David J. and Cowen, Joshua and Witte, John F. and Wolf, Patrick, Similar Students, Different Choices: Who Uses a School Voucher in an Otherwise Similar Population of Students? (December 19, 2013). Education and Urban Society, December 2013, 0013124513511268. doi: 10.1177/0013124513511268 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2656339

David J. Fleming (Contact Author)

Furman University ( email )

Greenville, SC
United States

Joshua Cowen

Michigan State University - College of Education ( email )

East Lansing, MI
United States

John F. Witte

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Political Science ( email )

1050 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States

Patrick Wolf

University of Arkansas - Department of Education Reform ( email )

201 Graduate Education Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

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