Large numbers of parents choose where their children are educated by moving to a school district or neighborhood that gives them access to good public schools, but school selection through residential choice is not an option for parents who are poor or unable to relocate. These parents are forced to take whatever is available to them through their local school district, and the schools that serve them do not have to worry about competition. While some districts are satisfied with this status quo, others have embraced policies that make school choice widely available and expose schools to the consequences of their popularity.
On November 30, the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings hosted a discussion exploring the critical role of school choice in the future of education reform. Senior Fellow and Brown Center Director Russ Whitehurst previewed the Education Choice and Competition Index – an interactive web application that will score large school districts based on thirteen categories of policy and practice – and announced the Index’s initial rankings of the 25 largest school districts in America.
Following his remarks, Joel Klein, the executive vice president of News Corporation and the former New York City Schools chancellor, delivered a keynote address offering his reflections on the successes and challenges surrounding the expansion of public school choice in New York City.
After the program, speakers took audience questions.