More urban parents are choosing their child’s school, but they report uneven quality and difficulties finding transportation. That’s according to a new report from the Center on Reinventing Public Education. CRPE researchers surveyed 4,000 parents in eight cities (Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.) with high degrees of school choice. The researchers also conducted interviews with government officials, choice advocates, and community leaders in four cities, and looked at how many different agencies oversee schools in 35 cities. More than a third of parents had trouble understanding which schools their children were eligible to attend. About a quarter said they struggled with transportation to schools of interest and said it was difficult to find information about schools. Parents of special needs children were significantly more likely to report difficulty learning about schools. The report finds that a more transparent, accountable, and fair system will require action from all parties, including school districts, charter authorizers, charter operators, and states. State and city leaders may need to change laws to ensure that districts and charter authorizers oversee schools responsibly and that families do not face large barriers to choice. In some cases, formal governance changes may be necessary to address the challenges to making school choice work for all families.
Read the report here.