ERIC Number: ED253961
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Family Choice in Public Education: Possibilities and Limitations.
Murnane, Richard J.
This essay reviews research pertaining to the relative merits and drawbacks of expanding family choice in public education. A primary objective is to identify and explore tensions among competing objectives in the design of expanded choice systems. After an introductory section on goals and definitions, the second section explores how more family choice might improve public education by providing incentive for students and teachers to work hard and cooperate. A third section addresses ways in which more family choice might be detrimental to the United States's commitment to universal and compulsory education. Problems raised include (1) availability of information, (2) criteria for students' choices, (3) teacher accountability, and (4) access to education for the disadvantaged. The fourth section explores the present consequences of family choice in private schools, addressing two relevant concerns: (1) Do children in private schools learn more than they would in public schools? (2) If so, what practices contribute to private schools' effectiveness? The fifth section concerns presently available choices in public education, including choices of residence, choices within schools, choices among schools, and choices among programs (with particular attention to magnet schools as the fastest growing family choice plan in the United States today). Issues discussed include consumer information, access, location, and role of teachers in program development and management. The sixth section summarizes (1) research issues (limitations in sources of evidence), (2) what family choice can and cannot accomplish, (3) sources of tension in the design and operation of family choice plans, and (4) the importance of program design. References are included. (TE)
Descriptors: Access to Education, Catholic Schools, Competitive Selection, Compulsory Education, Educational Change, Educational Demand, Educational Opportunities, Educationally Disadvantaged, Elementary Secondary Education, Eligibility, Equal Education, Free Choice Transfer Programs, Magnet Schools, Nontraditional Education, Parent School Relationship, Private Education, Public Education, School Choice, Selective Admission, Teacher Student Relationship
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers; Policymakers
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA. Graduate School of Education.