Lankford, R.H., Lee, E.S., & Wyckoff, J.H.
An Analysis of Elementary and Secondary School Choice
University at Albany
How characteristics of students, their families, and schools affect the school choices made across public, religious, and independent schools.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Journal of Urban Economics
Vol. 38, No. 2, pp. 236-251
- School choice is affected by the racial composition of public schools, the crime rate, and the religious orientation of the school, as well as the socio-economic characteristics of the student and family, including whether the family lives in a central city.
- School choice is importantly influenced by the racial composition of public schools, the proportion of lay teachers in Catholic schools, the juvenile crime rate, and whether a family lives in a central city, as well as parental education and income. Interestingly, per-pupil school expenditures and tuition generally are estimated to have little effect on school choice.
- The likelihood of White students attending public schools decreases as the proportion of school districts in the MSA having at least 50% non-White students increases.
- When White students in public schools are in the minority, whites are more likely, ceteris paribus, to choose private schools.
- Enrollment in religious schools will decline, other things equal, if the proportion of lay teachers in religious schools continues to rise.
- Parents with higher levels of education are also more likely to send their children to private school, other things being equal.
- Study suggests that parents may view religious education as being more important at the elementary level.
- In order to better understand how school characteristics affect choices among school alternatives, a more detailed characterization of school alternatives is needed.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Catholic Schools, Choice, Crime, Racial Composition, SES
Secondary Data, Survey
Method of Analysis:
Random Utility Model
Unit of Analysis:
- Student level data from the 1985 Current Population Survey merged with metropolitan-area average data on schools to estimate a random utility model of school choice.
- Sample of elementary and secondary school students drawn from the October 1985 Current Population Survey (CPS) which includes supplementary questions concerning the school enrollment of those children in the sample.
- Data for Catholic schools were drawn from unpublished summary data for schools in each dioceses provided by the National Catholic Education Association.
- Tuition data for independent schools are from the National Association of Independent Schools NAIS Statistics-Fall 1985.
- Information on per-pupil expenditures and racial composition in public schools was drawn from School Finance Data 1985-1986. And 1985-1986 Common Core Data respectively.
- The crime rate data come from the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics.
- The analysis is limited to the 21 states in the northeast and north central regions.
- Model is estimated separately for elementary and secondary students.
- DV: School choice (i.e., public, private religious, private independent)
- IV: Racial composition of public schools, family SES, education expenditure, tuition, juvenile crime, cost of living, family education