How Parents Experience Public School Choice

This report examines parents’ experiences with public school choice across eight “high-choice” cities: Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. In each city, researchers surveyed 500 public school parents (4,000 total) and collected data on the systems that shape how they navigate school choice, including the availability of information, the process of enrolling, and transportation options.

Graphic of the cities that CRPE surveyed
Graph (figure 6) from our newest report
Figure 22 from our newest report

We surveyed 4,000 parents in eight cities about
their experience with public school choice. View the results from each city:

• Parents are taking advantage of choice, but they want more good options.
• Parents’ optimism about whether schools are improving varies widely.
• Parents with less education, minority parents, and parents of children with special needs are more likely to report challenges navigating choice.
• Some parents are forced to make difficult trade-offs between academics, safety, and location.

Some cities have done much more to support parent choice. Denver, New Orleans, and Washington, DC, have made the most progress on transportation, fair enrollment, and information systems. However, all cities have work to do to ensure choice works for all families.

The authors recommend that civic leaders:
• Expand the supply of high-quality schools.
• Recognize that different families have different needs.
• Guarantee free and safe passage to schools.
• Invest much more heavily in information systems

This report is the second in CRPE’s Making School Choice Work series.

Related Publications

Skip to content