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ERIC Number: ED560652
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jan
Pages: 38
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
School Choice Signals: Research Review and Survey Experiments
Carpenter, Dick M., II
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
For the past several decades, a perennial topic on surveys about education has been school choice. Interest in public opinion about choice is more than just "nice to know." The results are often used to support or oppose choice in general or specific choice initiatives under consideration or adopted by state legislatures and even school boards. Until recently, however, surveys about school choice have been limited in their scope and not particularly sophisticated, reducing their utility. In particular, few have used experimental designs, most are analyzed with simple descriptive statistics, and important topics are understudied. In response, this report uses a survey experiment to examine four research questions: (1) Is there a significant difference in support for choice based on reasons for school choice? (2) Is there a significant difference in levels of agreement with reasons for school choice? (3) Which type of choice enjoys the strongest support? and (4) How does a policy of school choice compare to other reform initiatives in their perceived efficacy for school improvement? Data were collected from a national sample of 1,000 respondents as part of the post-election wave of the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES). Analyses used multiple regression and repeated measure ACOVA. Results indicated when presented with six different school choice options, respondents most favored tax credits and least favored low-income vouchers, with only trivial differences in support among the remaining types of choice. When asked to rate the efficacy of choice among other types of reform, results indicated school choice through vouchers was not seen as the most efficacious way to reform education in the U.S. (that designation belonged to smaller class sizes), but it was also not seen as the least (longer school days was so identified). Across three different reasons--freedom, competition, and equality--freedom was significantly more salient among participants. However, freedom's salience generally did not translate to a difference in support for various forms of choice. In fact, in only a few instances were there significant differences in support for choice based on any of the three reasons.
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Available from: Foundation for Educational Choice. One American Square Suite 2420, Indianapolis, IN 46282. Tel: 317-681-0745; Fax: 317-681-0945; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice