The Impact of School Choice on Student Outcomes: An Analysis of the Chicago Public Schools

Cullen, J., Jacob, B. and Levitt, S. (2005). "The Impact of School Choice on Student Outcomes: An Analysis of the Chicago Public Schools." Journal of Public Economics. 89(5-6): 729-760.

Abstract

We explore the impact of school choice on student outcomes in the context of open enrollment within the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Roughly half of the students opt out of their assigned high school to attend a different CPS school, and these students are much more likely than those who remain in their assigned schools to graduate. To determine the source of this apparent benefit, we compare outcomes across i) similar students with differential access to schooling options and ii) travelers and non-travelers within the same school. The results suggest that, other than for students who select career academies, the observed cross-sectional benefits are likely spurious.

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