Does Choice Matter for School Choice? An Instrumental Variables Analysis of the Effect of Choice on Parental Satisfaction in Charter Schools

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school choice, charter school, oversubscription, instrumental variables


I employ ordered probit regression, and a new instrumental variable, to compare the fall 2015 parental satisfaction survey results of open-enrollment charters to district-conversion charters. The results indicate that choice status in Arkansas charter schools is significantly beneficial to parental-satisfaction. In particular, after controlling for student and parent-level characteristics, parents with children in open-enrollment charters had between a 17-percentage point and 32-percentage point higher likelihood of grading their current school as an A or responding as Highly Satisfied in six of the quality categories: Overall, Teacher, Discipline, Learning, Safety and Parental-Involvement. Four of the relationships remain large and statistically-significant in the instrumental variables analysis. I find no evidence that parents in either choice setting rate the quality of schools similar to the experts at the Arkansas Department of Education. Finally, I do not find any significant differences for any of the parental-satisfaction categories between oversubscribed and non-oversubscribed schools.


EDRE Working Paper 2017-06