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Education Working Paper
No. 9  April 2005


The Effect of Residential School Choice on Public High School Graduation Rates

Endnotes

  1. Ann Rayman and Ofelia Madrid, “Merger Law Could Target Small Districts,” Arizona Republic, December 3, 2003.
  2. Derek DePledge, “Democrats Ready for Final Votes on ‘Reinvent Education’ Bill,” Honolulu Advertiser, April 13, 2004.
  3. Matthew Pinzur, “School Idea Hits Nerve,” Miami Herald, December 11, 2003.
  4. See http://www.miedresearchoffice.org/opportunity.htm#_Number_of_students
  5. See “Use of School Choice,” Education Policy Issues: Statistical Perspectives,  n. 1, National Center for Education Statistics, June 1995, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs95/95742r.pdf
  6. Hoxby 2001.
  7. The graduation rates used in this study were reported in Greene and Winters 2005.
  8. See http://nces.ed.gov/ccd
  9. Calculations do not always sum due to rounding.
  10. See http://eire.census.gov/popest/estimates.php
  11. We were unable to calculate graduation rates between 1991 and 2000 in Arizona because, as we discovered after discussing it with the state’s Department of Education, the enrollment numbers that the state officially reported to the federal government during this period were incorrect.
  12. For state areas, see http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0108355.html; for number of districts, see varying years of the Digest of Education Statistics, National Center of Education Statistics.
  13. Authors’ calculations using data from Greene and Winters 2005.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Alexa Aguilar and Kavita Kumor, “Tiny School Districts Feel Pressure to Merge,” St. Louis Post Dispatch, Illinois 5 Star Edition, February 20, 2005.
  16. Authors’ calculations using data from Greene and Winters, 2005.
  17. Ibid.
  18. DePledge, “Democrats Ready.”
  19. David M. Herszenhorn, “Charity Gives $51 Million to City to Start 67 Schools,” New York Times, September 18, 2003.
  20. For both of these data, see varying years of the Core of Common Data, http://nces.ed.gov/ccd
  21. Aguilar and Kumor, “Tiny School Districts Feel Pressure to Merge.”
  22. Ibid.
  23. Rayman and Madrid, “Merger Law Could Target Small Districts.”

 


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EWP 9 PDF (63 kb)

WHAT THE PRESS SAID

SUMMARY:
This study finds that decreasing the size of school districts has a substantial and statistically significant positive effect on high school graduation rates, while consolidating school districts leads to more students dropping out of high school. The study indicates that decreasing the size of state's school districts by 200 square miles leads to an increase of about 1.7 percentage points in its graduation rate. The authors argue that these improvements occur because decreasing the size of school districts increases the choice that parents have in the school system that educates their child, which motivates public school districts to compete for students by providing a higher quality education.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ABOUT EDUCATION WORKING PAPERS

INTRODUCTION

EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES AND INCREASING PARENTAL SCHOOL CHOICE

CALCULATING GRADUATION RATES

METHOD

RESULTS

CONCLUSION

ENDNOTES

REFERENCES

Table 1: Average Square Miles/District by State

Table 2: Relationship Between Increasing Average Square Miles of School Districts and Graduation Rates

Table 3: Effect of Decreasing District Size to Benchmark Levels for Certain States

Table 4: Effect of Increasing District Size to Benchmark Levels for Certain States

 


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