Who is More Free? A Comparison of the Decision-Making of Private and Public School Principals

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school choice, school leadership, school management, School and Staffing Survey


While an abundance of school choice literature focuses on student achievement outcomes, little has been done to determine the mechanisms involved in producing such outcomes. We present a comparative analysis of private and public school principals using data from the School and Staffing Survey (SASS) 2011-2012. We add to the literature by examining the differences in private and public school principals’ abilities to influence important decisions at their schools. We conclude that private schooling may have a systematic advantage over public schooling since private school leadership exhibits more autonomy in influencing relevant decisions.


EDRE Working Paper 2016-09