Does School Choice Increase School Quality?
31 Pages Posted: 16 May 2003 Last revised: 1 Dec 2011
Date Written: May 2003
Federal No Child Left Behind' legislation, which enables students of low-performing schools to exercise public school choice, exemplies a widespread belief that competing for students will spur public schools to higher achievement. We investigate how the introduction of school choice in North Carolina, via a dramatic increase in the number of charter schools across the state, affects the performance of traditional public schools on statewide tests. We find test score gains from competition that are robust to a variety of specifications. The introduction of charter school competition causes an approximate one percent increase in the score, which constitutes about one quarter of the average yearly growth.
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