ERIC Number: ED463928
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002-Mar
Academic, Socioeconomic and Transportation Correlates in a Rural Public School Voucher System.
Mathis, William J.; Etzler, Deborah
In the 1997-98 school year, the town school boards of rural Rutland County, Vermont, established a regional school choice collaborative. Key program features were limits on the number of choice students from each school; no exchange of money between school boards; a lottery to determine admission at schools with excess applicants; parent/student responsibility for student transportation; and provisions related to special education, athletics, and disciplinary issues. In view of current efforts in the Vermont legislature toward expanding school choice, this paper reports on the first 4 years of the Rutland program. Surveys were completed by 60 of the 63 school-choice students, who comprised about 2 percent of eligible students. About three quarters of respondents transferred from smaller to larger schools, and two thirds moved toward a school in the region's center. No competitive improvement effects were found for either the schools or the students in the program. The relationship between school quality (test scores) and popularity of choice was weak. Student reasons for transferring were about evenly distributed among attraction to new school, dislike of old school, and social factors. Almost all students were satisfied with the change, but their average grades (low B or high C) were unchanged. Students tended to choose schools in areas of higher income. Other than satisfaction, the program produced no benefits and, if the money followed the child, would threaten the existence of several small high schools. (Contains 16 endnotes and the student questionnaire.) (SV)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Education Finance Association (Albuquerque, NM, March 2002). Research conducted by Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union and supported by Rutland Regional Choice Collaborative, Rural School and Community Trust, and Vermont Society for the Study of Education.