Brookings Now

Top 5 and Bottom 5 School Districts for Choice and Competition

Fred Dews

What are the best ranked, and lowest ranked, school districts for choice and competition?

The Brown Center on Education Policy‘s annual Education Choice and Competition Index (ECCI) scores the 100+ largest school districts in America across 13 rubrics of policy and practice to provide “information on the extent to which parents can choose schools for their children and the degree to which the procedures for school choice promote competition within large school districts.”

Top 5 (letter grade in parentheses):

1. Recovery District (New Orleans) (A)

2. New York City (A-)

3. Orleans Parish, LA (A-)

4. Houston, TX (B)

5. Denver, CO (B)

The report notes that there is little difference in rankings across the years (this is the third ECCI report), with a correlation of .95 between last year’s and this year’s rankings, yet it notes that Denver moved from 24th to 5th place “based on its implementation of a unified application process for all its public schools, including charters.”


Bottom 5 (letter grade in parentheses):

101. Pasadena ISD, TX (F)

101. Howard County, MD (F)

105. Brownsville ISD, TX (F)

105. Mobile County, AL (F)

107. Loudoun County, VA (F)

Thirty-four school districts received an “F” grade, demonstrating that “zip code assignment and other policies antithetical to choice still represent standard operating procedure for many school districts across 

the country.”

Visit the ECCI interactive to get all of the rankings across all of the rubrics and more detailed information about choice and competition.

* In the image above, students at Arthur Ashe Charter School in New Orleans, part of the Recovery School District, raise their hands in the classroom. (FirstLine Schools/Maile Lani Photography)