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Educational policy analysis archives.
n Vol. 13, no. 29 (May 02, 2005).
Tempe, Ariz. :
b Arizona State University ;
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida.
c May 02, 2005
Antecedents and consequences of residential choice and school transfer / Toni Falbo, Robert W. Glover, W. Lee Holcombe [and] S. Lynne Stokes.
Arizona State University.
University of South Florida.
t Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA)
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E DUCATION P OLICY A NALYSIS A RCHIVES A peer reviewed scholarly journal Editor: Sherman Dorn College of Education University of South Florida Copyright is retained by the first or sole author, who grants right of first publication to the Education Policy Analysis Archives EPAA is published jointly by the Colleges of Education at Arizona State University and the University of South Florida. Articles are indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (www.doaj.org). Volume 13 Number 2 9 May 2, 2005 ISSN 1068 2341 Antecedents and Consequences of Residential Choice and School Transfer Toni Falbo The University of Texas at Austin Robert W. Glover The University of Texas at Austin W. Lee Holcomb e University of Texas at Dallas S. Lynne Stokes Southern Methodist University Citation: Falbo, T., Glover, R. W., Holcombe, W. L., & Stokes, S. L. (2005, May 2). Antecedents and c onsequences of r esidential c hoice and s chool t ransfer Education Policy An alysis Archives, 13 (29). Retrieved [date] from http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v13n29/. Abstract This article examines the antecedents and consequences of residential choice and school transfers within one of the eight largest urban school districts in Texas. T his study is based on survey data from a representative sample of parents of K 12 students enrolled in this district. In addition to demographic characteristics of the family, the parent decision making model of Schneider, Teske, & Marschall (2000) was ex amined to determine if aspects of this model were useful in understanding the school choices made at the beginning of the school year and the parents motivation to move to another
Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 29 2 school at the end. The results provide some support for the view that resi dential choice is related to enhanced achievement and satisfaction; while, within district transfers were used more by better educated White parents who did not qualify as low income. Parents motivation to move their children to another school was greate r when they perceived the school as less receptive to their involvement and their children as less successful in school. Proponents of school choice emphasize the benefits of shifting power away from the educational bureaucracies running public schools toward the parents of primary and secondary school students by allowing parents more choice in the schools their children attend (Chubb & Moe, 1990; Friedman, 1955; Glass, 1994; Schneider, Teske, & Marschall, 2000). Parents are regarded as the group most likely to pressure schools to meet the needs of their children, and consequently, improve the overall quality of education provided by American schools (Howell, Peterson, Wolf, & Campbell, 2002; Schneider et al 2000). However, critics of school choice a rgue that many parents would make school choices based on the wrong criteria, such as the predominant social class of the students in a particular school or district, or make no choices at all (Ascher, Fruchter, & Berne, 1996; The Carnegie Foundation, 19 92). Consequently, critics argue that the full scale use of choice by parents might lead to greater stratification within U.S. primary and secondary schools, particularly in terms of socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity (Gill, Timpane, Ross, & Brewer 2001; Howell et al 2002; The Carnegie Foundation, 1992). This article examines the extent to which a variety of demographic factors were related to the school choices of parents of students enrolled in an urban school district with a diverse student p opulation. This study is based on survey data from a representative sample of parents of K 12 th grade students collected at the end of their school year. In the present study, the schools within the district varied widely in terms of their proportion of low income students, ranging from under four percent to more than ninety percent. Likewise, the schools varied widely in terms of the proportion of non Hispanic White students, ranging from around three percent to over eighty percent. Stratification Par ents with the financial resources have been selecting their childrens schools by residential choice for many years (Howell et al 2002; Schneider et al 2000). Historically, middle or upper class parents have moved to neighborhoods served by better sch ools or sent their children to private schools (Henig & Sugarman, 1999). In 1993, for example, 40% of parents nationwide reported using residential location to gain access to good schools (NCES, 1997). School choice by residential choice has been widespr ead for many years, leading to substantial stratification of our public schools, by race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status (Orfield & Lee, 2004). Because residential choice was common in the district we studied, we asked parents to gauge the extent to which they had selected their neighborhood based on the quality of the schools serving that neighborhood. In the U.S., much of the stratification of public schools has resulted from middle and upper income parents leaving inner city public schools for subu rban ones (Howell et al 2002). In order to stem this flight of higher income families, many urban school districts allowed parents to transfer their children to within district schools other than the ones they
Falbo et al. : Residential Choice and School Transfer 3 were assigned to. In the present study, th e school district allowed parents to make such transfers if there was room at the receiving school. Because of these within district transfer opportunities, we asked parents in our sample if their children had transferred to the school they attended or wh ether this school was the one their children were assigned to. The present study evaluated not only the extent to which the parents had exercised two types of school choice, but also, the extent to which the parents were motivated to move their children t o a public school in another school district, or move their child to a private school. A greater understanding of this motivation might help to explain why some parents have not exercised their right to move their children to another school, even when the y were given this option (Campbell, West & Peterson, 2001; Schneider et al 2000). No doubt various demographic factors affect this motivation, such as income status, ethnicity, or parents educational levels. For example, Bositis (2001) reported the re sults of opinion polls suggesting that African American parents may be particularly interested in vouchers. Likewise, some research has reported that mothers of children who use vouchers tend to have more education than other mothers within the same eligi ble group (Howell, & Peterson, 2000; Peterson, Myers, & Howell, 1999). Of course, some voucher programs have been designed specifically for low income families (e.g., in Milwaukee and Cleveland, see Gill et al 2001). If some demographic groups are more motivated to move than others, this could lead to further stratification of schools in the U.S. The present study examines if parents motivation to move their children to another school is related to their educational levels, race, ethnicity, or low inc ome status. The Black Box Originally, the push for school choice was justified in terms of theories of economics (Friedman, 1955) or political science (Chubb & Moe, 1990). The idea was that by changing institutions so that parents could select their ch ildrens schools, market forces and the power of parents would influence schools to improve. There was little in the way of theoretical models explaining the mechanisms within schools and families that would bring about school improvement. One theoretici an to attempt to explain the black box of school choice was Mark Schneider and his colleagues (Schneider et al 2000; Teske & Schneider, 2001). A key element in their parent decision making model was the linkage between choice and involvement. Schneid er et al reasoned that when parents chose their childrens schools, they became more involved in the school as well as more engaged in their childrens education. This enhancement of parent involvement was hypothesized to promote not only higher quality schools, but also, greater educational success for their own children. Furthermore, Teske & Schneider (2001) argued that this enhanced school success led parents to have greater satisfactio n in their childrens schools. The parent decision making model of Schneider et al (2000) has received only mixed support from research. For example, Howell et al (2002) evaluated the outcomes of voucher programs in Dayton, Ohio, Washington, D.C., and New York City, using random field tests, and found that parents who used their vouchers to send their children to schools of their choice were no more involved than parents who did not get vouchers. In addition, Bielick & Chapman (2003) examined the results of three national surveys, conducted in the 90s, and found that while parents of children attending private schools were more involved in their childrens schools, there was no difference in involvement between parents of students attending chosen versus assigned public schools. However, in support of the
Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 29 4 parent decis ion making model, Howell et al. (2002) found the expected improvement in student achievement among some groups of students attending chosen schools, notably African American students. However, extensive research conducted on participants in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program found no significant differences in achievement between students attending chosen schools and students attending their assigned schools (Witte, 2000). Thus, the key linkage in Schneider et al s parent decision making model, namely greater school choice leading to more parent involvement and subsequent student achievement, has received only mixed empirical support from research. Nonetheless, several studies of school choice programs have found that parents are more satisfied when t heir children attend chosen public or private schools than when they attend assigned public schools (Bielick & Chapman, 2003; Moe, 2001). Schneider et al s parent decision making model was developed to explain what happens after parents exercise school ch oice. The present study not only examines whether this model sheds light on the processes that are triggered after school choice, but also this study examines whether this model is useful in understanding parents motivation to move their children to anot her school district or to private school. In other words, the present study examines the extent to which the mechanisms of choice, involvement, achievement and satisfaction were affected by school choice and also whether these mechanisms affected the pare nts motivation to move their children to another school. Consistent with the model, we hypothesized that school choice would be associated with greater involvement, a chievement, and satisfaction. We also expected that parents who had less choice in the schools their children attended, who were less involved in their childrens education, who perceived less achievement in their children, and who were less satisfied with their childrens schools, would be more motivated to move their children to another sc hool district or a private school. Method School District All the parents in our sample had enrolled at least one child in the Austin Independent School District, during the 2000 2001 school year. According to the Texas Education Agency (2001a), the t otal number of students enrolled in the district during this school year was 77, 816 and they attended 109 schools, including 74 elementary, 17 middle/junior highs, and 12 high schools. There were magnet schools within four comprehensive high schools and one magnet school at the middle school level. The school district is one of the eight largest urban school districts of Texas, and covers most, but not all of the public schools within the city limits. The district is completely surrounded by suburban sc hool districts. In terms of the racial and ethnic composition of the students during the 2000 2001 school year, 16% of the students were African American, 48% were Hispanic, 34% were non Hispanic White, and 3% were categorized as Other. Forty eight perce nt of the students were classified as economically disadvantaged. Of those district students who had taken the states competency test in the spring of 2001, 74.3% passed all sections, compared to 82.1% for the state average ( Texas Education Agency, 2001b ).
Falbo et al. : Residential Choice and School Transfer 5 Sampling Procedure In order to obtain information from a representative sample of district parents, we conducted telephone interviews with a stratified random sample of parents of students enrolled during the 2000 2001 school year. The unit of ana lysis was the individual student, not household or school, and each question during the interview was framed with regard to the specified child. This meant that parents were in the pool as many times as they had children e nrolled in the school district. T he school district provided the phone numbers of all their students and these numbers served as a pool from which parents could be randomly selected to interview. However, about 12% of the parents had indicated at the beginning of the school year that the y did not want their phone numbers released outside the school and 16% of the remaining parents had no working phone numbers according to school records. Nothing could be done to include the parents of the former group into our sampling universe. Consequ ently, the conclusions we draw are thus applicable to the 88% of the districts students who had a non zero chance of selection into our sample. Fortunately, we were able to recover 48% of the missing phone numbers for parents who had no working telephone by providing their names and addresses to a vendor who matched this information with information available from several phone companies. Because we thought that parents whose phone numbers were recovered might be different from parents who had working nu mbers on record with the district, we stratified our sample in terms of whether the number was recovered or available on record. In this way, we controlled the effect that this telephone variable had on our sample. We also stratified the sample by ethnic/ racial group, low income status, and school level, based on information provided by the school district. Specifically, the self reported ethnic/racial group of the students was divided into three major categories: Hispanic, non Hispanic White (hereafter referred to as White), and African American. Students who did not fit into any of these three categories (less than 3% of the districts students) were combined with the White group. We defined low income students as those who qualified for free or reduc ed price lunch, or who had a sibling who had received a Pell grant, or whose family had qualified for state welfare. All others were categorized as not low income. Finally, parents were stratified by their childrens school level so that the parents of s tudents in elementary, middle, and high schools woul d be represented in the sample. The number of parents interviewed was based on the number of completed interviews we needed within each of the stratification categories of Ethnic/Racial, Low Income Status School Level, and Phone Number groups in order to ensure a margin of error no gre ater than 6%. The interviewer asked to speak to the parent or guardian of (childs name) or the adult in your household who is most involved in decisions about the educatio n of this child. The interviewers made as many as five attempts to interview the parent or guardian of the selected student. Then, if the parent could still not be reached, the interviewer randomly selected another student from the same category and beg an the process of trying to reach that parent. Interviewers continued selecting students until they had completed the number of interviews needed for each category. Interviewing was conducted in English or Spanish a t the choice of the respondent.
Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 29 6 Inter view Instrument The interview instrument asked the parents to consider the experiences of only the child named by the interviewer, during the 2000 2001 school year. There were 34 questions asked of all parents and another four questions asked of parents of high school students. Most of the questions were designed to evaluate aspects of the childs experiences at the school. The questions included items measuring the motivation of the parent to move the child to another school, the degree of school choic e made by the parent, the extent of the parents school involvement, the parents perception of the childs success in school, and the parents satisfaction with the quality of the education the child received from the school. In addition, the parents wer e asked to describe th eir own educational attainment. Data Analysis In analyzing our data, we used statistical software that allowed us to calculate estimates and their standard errors appropriately for data from a stratified sample design (Lohr, 1999). Weights were calculated as the inverse of the selection probability, or N h /n h where N h is the number of students in stratum h, and n h is the sample size within that stratum. All the analyses conducted for this study were weighted analyses using SASs PR OC SURVEYREG or SURVEYMEANS. Results Sample The interviews were conducted by telephone from May 2001 through mid July 2001 by professional interview staff at the Office of Survey Research at the University of Texas. In order to complete the 909 inter views we needed to assure a margin of error of no greater than 6%, we had to a ttempt to call 3,481 parents. The 3,481 parents included 381 parents who never answered the phone, 88 parents whose telephones were always busy, 754 parents whose answering mach ines answered all five calls, 415 parents who requested us to call back, but were never reached, and 852 parents who had provided the school district with invalid phone numbers. Only 82 parents refused to be interviewed. One hundred and twenty five paren ts chose to be interviewed in Spanish. Table 1 presents the distribution of our sample by the four strata. In terms of the ethnic/racial strata, 300 parents had White (or other) children, 273 parents had African American children, and 336 parents had Hisp anic children. In terms of the Phone Number strata, 154 parents had recovered phone numbers and 755 parents had phone numbers available at the school. In terms of Income Status, 432 parents were low income and 477 parents were not. In terms of school le vel, 326 parents had children in elementary school, 282 had children in middle school, and 301 had children in high school.
Falbo et al. : Residential Choice and School Transfer 7 Table 1 Distribution of Parents by Four Strata: Ethnic/Race, Phone Number, School Level, and Income Status Students' Ethnic/Ra ce School Level Phone Number Elementary Middle High Low Income Not Low Low Income Not Low Low Income Not Low White + Recovered 2 6 5 9 2 12 Available 13 69 9 75 7 91 African American Recovered 15 4 9 5 8 7 Available 77 24 34 20 35 35 H ispanic Recovered 17 3 23 7 11 9 Available 73 23 55 31 37 47 Note: N=909. White+ consists of 292 non Hispanic Whites, 2 Native Americans, and 6 Asian Americans. The educational attainment varied widely among the parents in our sample, with 11.4% indica ting that they had an elementary school education or less, 11.3% indicating that they had completed some high school, 19.4% indicating they were high school graduates, 23.3% indicating they had completed some college, 22.4% indicating they had graduated fr om college, and 11.5% indicating they had completed a graduate degree. Most parents (94%) indicated that they expected their children to go to and graduate from college. Slightly more than half (51%) of the parents in our sample were parents of sons. Mo st of the parents interviewed (81%) were mothers. Measurement School Choice. Choice here is measured in two ways. One item asked parents if the specified child attended his or her assigned school, or whether the student had transferred to another schoo l. Of the 909 parents in our sample, 79% reported that their son or daughter attended their assigned school, while 14% reported that their child had transferred to another school within the district. Seven percent of the parents indicated that they did n ot know the answer to this question. Of those who transferred their children, 31% had children who attended elementary, 26% had children in middle, and 43% had children in high school. Of the parents who reported their children had transferred, 11% said they did so to allow their children to attend a magnet school or special program within a school, such as an International B accalaureate program.
Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 29 8 The second school choice item asked parents to express on a 5 point scale the extent to which they had selecte d their neighborhood because of the schools. Parents were almost evenly divided in terms of the degree of residential choice they had exercised, with 44% disagreeing (ratings 1 or 2) and 47% agreeing (ratings 4 or 5) with the residential choice item. Thi s item along with the other items with 5 or 10 point response f ormats are presented in Table 2. Table 2 presents the weighted means and standard errors for all of these items. Table 2 Weighted Means and Standard Errors of Residential Choice, Parent Invo lvement, Student Achievement, Satisfaction, and Motivation to Move Items Topic Weighted Mean Standard Error Residential Choice I selected my neighborhood because of the schools. (5 points) 3.08 .06 Involvement My childs school takes my ideas and sug gestions seriously. (5 points) 3.70 .04 My childs school does not encourage my involvement in school activities. (5 points) 2.20 .05 How often did you contact teachers or administrators at your childs school to advocate for your child or check on hi s/her progress? (10 points) 6.67 .10 Achievement My childs academic skills are at or above his/her grade level. (5 points) 4.09 .04 How successful do you think your child has been overall this year in school? (10 points) 7.75 .08 Satisfaction How satisfied are you with the quality of education that your child receives at school? (10 points) 7.62 .08 How satisfied are you with your childs teachers at school? (10 points) 7.92 .08 I am satisfied with the building and grounds of my childs school. (5 points) 4.02 .04 Motivation to Move If I could, I would move my child to a school in a different school district. (5 points) 2.46 .05 If I could, I would enroll my child in a private school. (5 points) 2.88 .06 Note: These means are weighted. N =909.
Falbo et al. : Residential Choice and School Transfer 9 We expected that parents who reported that their children transferred to another school would be less likely to agree with the statement about residential choice, and indeed this is what we found. Parents who reported that their children attended t heir assigned school agreed more with the statement about selecting their neighborhood because of the schools than did the parents who reported their children had transferred, F (1, 778) = 11.48, p = .0007. Even though we found that residential choice and transferring schools within the same district were related, we considered both scores separately in our study because these two items measure different aspects of school choice. Parent Involvement. Parent involvement is measured here with three items, on e assessing the extent to which the parents reported that the school took their ideas and suggestions seriously and the second, measuring the extent that the school did not encourage their involvement in school activities. The parents responses to these first two involvement items were significantly and negatively correlated, r (751) = .17, p = .0002 In addition, parent involvement was gauged in terms of the frequency with which the parents reported contacting teachers or administrators at their child rens school to advocate for their children or check on their progress. The parents responses to this third item was slightly correlated with their responses to the first involvement item, r (756) = .08, p = .0489, but unrelated to their responses to the second involvement item, r (827) = .02, p =.6986. Because of the weak associations between these three variables, we considered these items as assessing distinct aspects of parent involvement. Student Achievement. Two items measure the parents perception s of their childrens achievement. One item assessed the extent to which the parent thought their childs academic skills were at or above grade level and the other, the extent to which the child was perceived to be successful overall in school. Not surp risingly, the scores from these two statements correlated significantly with each other, r (886) =.43, p <.0001. Despite this degree of overlap, we used these two items separately in our analyses. School Satisfaction. Three items measure the parents sat isfaction with their childrens schools. The central and basic satisfaction item asked each parent to rate, on a 10 point scale, the overall satisfaction with the quality of the education the child received. We found that almost 74% of the parents evalua ted their childrens school quality somewhere between a seven and ten, with a score of 10 being the highest possible. Parents responses to this central question were strongly correlated, r (883) =.77, p <.0001, with their responses to the second satisfac tion item about teachers. The third satisfaction item concerned the building and grounds and this was significantly correlated with the central satisfaction item, r (894) = .33, p < .0001, and the teacher satisfaction item, r (851) = .27, p < .0001. Despi te this strong degree of overlap, we used the scores from three it ems separately in our analyses. Motivation to Move. Two items assess the parents desire to move their children to another school. The parents responses to the item about moving to anothe r public school were significantly correlated with the parents responses to the item about moving to a private school, r (883)= .43, p <.0001. Despite this overlap, we used the parents responses to these two ite ms separately in our analyses. School Cho ice and Stratification In order to ascertain whether demographic variables were associated with the exercise of school choice at the beginning of the school year or the motivation to move to another school at the end of the school year, we calculated corr elation coefficients between
Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 29 10 several demographic variables and the four choice variables, residential choice, transfer within district, move to another district, and move to a private school. The results are presented in Table 3 Table 3 Correlation Coef ficients between Demographic Variables and School Choice and Motivation to Move Variables School Choice Motivation to Move Demographic Variables Residential Choice Transfer/Not Another Public A Private School Parents Education .09* .12* .01 .01 Lo w Income Status .01 .1 0* .01 .01 School Level .05 .07 .13* .06 Sex of Student .05 .04 .03 .03 Ethnic Racial Group .05 .09* .13* .06 Hispanic White .05 .09* .04 .04 African American White .14* .00 .12* .09* African American Hispanic .17* .08 .14* .07 Note: p <.05 These results indicate that the degree of residential choice was weakly, and negatively, correlated with parents education, and that the parents of White and Hispanic students expressed greater degrees of residential choice than the pa rents of African American students. None of the other demographic variables was related to degree of residential choice exercised by the parent. In terms of transferring students to other schools within the district, the results indicated that better educ ated parents, parents who were not low income, and White parents were more likely to exercise this type of school choice than less educated, low income or Hispanic parents. None of the other demographic variables was related to whether the student transfe rred to a school different from the one assigned by residence. In terms of motivation to move the child to a school in another school district, the results indicated that parents of secondary students and parents of African American students were more moti vated to move to another school district than were parents of elementary students or White or Hispanic students. In terms of motivation to move the
Falbo et al. : Residential Choice and School Transfer 11 child to a private school, the results indicated that parents of African American students were more motiva ted than were parents of White students. None of the other demographic variables was related to the motivation to move variables. School Choice and Parent Decision Making Model We correlated scores from items reflecting the mechanisms of parent involvem ent, student achievement, and parent satisfaction with the four school choice variables. First, we wanted to determine if the mechanisms hypothesized to result from school choice were actually correlated signifi cantly with choosing schools. Table 4 presen ts these correlation coefficients for the residential choice and transfer variables. Table 4 Correlation Coefficients between Two School Choice and Three Mechanism Variables School Choice Variables Mechanism Variables Residential Choice Transfer/Not Involvement School takes my ideas seriously. .13* .04 .04 .01 School does not encourage my involvement. Frequency of my contact with teachers or administrators. .01 .01 Achievement .12* .06 My childs skills are at or above grade level. My childs overall su ccess in school this year. .14* .01 Satisfaction .21* .03 .16* .02 Satisfaction with quality of education from school. Satisfaction with my childs teachers. Satisfaction with buildings and grounds. .16* .00 Note : p <.05 Overall six of the eight possible correlations between the residential choice variable and the variables representing the mechanisms of the parent decision making model were statistically significant, although none of these relationships was strong. In contrast none of
Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 29 12 the eight correlations between the transfer variable and the mechanism variables was statistically significant. Specifically, in terms of the three items assessing aspects of parent involvement, only one of the three possible correlations with r esidential choice reached statistical significance, indicating that the more residential choice parents reported exercising, the more they thought the schoo l took their ideas seriously. In terms of the two items measuring the parents perception of their childrens achievement, both yielded significant correlations with residential choice, indicating that the more residential choice parents reporting exercising, the more achievement they saw in their children. Finally, in terms of three items measuring pa rents satisfaction with the school, all yielded significant correlations, indicating that the more residential choice parents reported exercising, the more satis fied they were with the school. Table 5 presents the correlation coefficients between the vari ables assessing the parents desire to move their children to another school and the mechanisms from the parent decision making model. In addition, this table reports the correlation coefficients between the residential choice variable and the two motiva tion to move variables. Note that the more residential choice parents reported, the less motivation they expressed to move their children to another public or private school. However, exercising the transfer option within the district was not associated s ignificantly with either motivation to move variables. The results suggested that the mechanisms of the parent decision making model had explanatory power in terms of explaining what motivates parents to move their children to another school, either public or private. Parents expressed more motivation to move their children to another school when they believed the school did not take their ideas seriously and did not encourage their involvement in school activities. However, the correlations between frequ ency of parent contact with the school and the two motivation to move variables were not significant. Parents also expressed more motivation to move their children when they perceived their children as achieving less in school. Finally, parents expressed more motivation to move their children when they were less satisfied with the school, including overall satisfaction as well as satisfaction with teachers and the building and grounds. Discussion Advocates of school choice believe that empowering parent s to choose their childrens schools will improve the quality of American primary and secondary education. The results of this study provide some support for this view, while at the same time, these results also provide some support for the view that allo wing parents to choose schools will lead to increasing levels of s tratification. Consistent with the prediction of school choice advocates, we found that parents who reported exercising more residential choice in selecting the schools for their children sa w their childrens achievement more positively than did parents who reported less residential choice. This enhanced achievement was reported for grade level academic skills as well as overall success in school. Similarly, parents expressing more resident ial choice were more satisfied with their childrens teachers, school building and grounds, and the quality of education their children received from the school. Thus, in terms of student achievement and parent satisfaction, the results of the present stu dy indicate that school choice, in the form of residential location, worked as sch ool choice advocates predicted.
Falbo et al. : Residential Choice and School Transfer 13 Table 5 Correlation Coefficients between Motivation to Move and School Choice, Mechanism Variables Motivation to Move Variables Residenti al Choice & Mechanism Variables Another Public School A Private School Residential Choice I selected my neighborhood because of the schools. .18* .09* Transfer Within District Assigned/Transfer .01 .00 Involvement .33* .23* .16* .12* School takes my ideas seriously S chool does not encourage my involvement. Frequency of my contact with teachers or administrators. .04 .05 Achievement .27* .26* My childs skills are at or above grade level. My childs overall success in school this year. .32* .28* Satisfaction .49* .33* .42* .32* Satisfaction with quality of education from school. Satisfaction with my childs teachers. Satisfaction with buildings and grounds. .27* .19* Note.: p <.05 Unfortunately for school choice advo cates, no benefits were found for parents who had transferred their children to a school within the district. Parents of transfer students saw no greater achievement in their children and expressed no greater satisfaction than did the parents of students attending their assigned schools. These results suggest that taking the
Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 29 14 opportunity to transfer within district does not lead to an enhancement of parent support for the school their children chose to attend. The most important challenge that our results present for the Schneider et al. parent decision making model is that we found no association between school transfer and any aspect of parent involvement. We also found relatively little association between residential choice and parent involvement. Wh ile parents who reported more residential choice rated the schools as taking their input more seriously, there was no significant association between residential choice and the perception of the school as not encouraging their involvement in school activit ies. Furthermore, the item measuring the frequency of contact the parent reported with teachers and administrators had no association at all with degree of residential choice or school transfer. Note, however, that parents responses to this item were no t significantly correlated with any of the school choice or motivation to move variables. While the results pose some challenges for the parent decision making model, they also indicate that this model exhibited some value in deepening our understanding of the motivation of parents to move their children to another school. As expected from the model, we found that parents who believed their childrens schools took their ideas seriously or encouraged their involvement in school activities were less motivate d to move their children to a school in another district or to a private school. Likewise, parents who perceived more achievement in their children or were more satisfied with their childrens school were also less motivated to move their children to anot her school. We also found that the more parents had exercised residential choice, the less motivated they were to move to another school. This finding suggests that after choosing the familys residence based on the neighborhood schools, parents are less motivated to move their children to other schools. However, the exercise of the transfer option was found to have no association with motivation to move to either another school district or a private school. The results of this study provide evidence tha t school choice was unevenly exercis ed across demographic groups. We found that better educated, White parents who had more income were more likely to take advantage of transfer options within the district. These results suggest that such transfer opport unities within a district could easily increase the stratification of schools within a district. However, the finding that the degree of residential choice was greater for less educated parents is inconsistent with what critics of school choice would expec t. We are uncertain whether this finding reflects characteristics of housing markets peculiar to Austin, Texas, or whether less educated parents simply report more residential choice in general. We also found that African American parents were less likel y to indicate that they had exercised residential choice, which may reflect housing discrimination and not a lack of interest in school choice. Note that African American parents were more motivated to move their children to another school district than w ere White or Latino parents, and more motivated to move their children to a private school than were White parents. This finding is consistent with the results of public opinion polls indicating African American parents are more interested in vouchers tha n are other groups (Bositis, 2001). We also found that parents were more motivated to move their children to another district when their children were in secondary, compared to primary school. This suggests disenchantment with the secondary schools within the district. Our previous study (Falbo, et al. 2001) found that parents were significantly more satisfied with the districts elementary than secondary schools. Note that none of the choice variables were related to whether the student was a son or d aughter.
Falbo et al. : Residential Choice and School Transfer 15 On balance, these results suggest that opening transfer options within a school district encourages stratification, while failing to enhance the parents involvement in the school. As importantly, these results indicate that the act of transferri ng a child to another school does nothing to enhance the parents perception of their childrens achievement or the parents satisfaction with the schools. Urban school districts aiming to stem the flight of advantaged groups from their schools may want t o consider other ways than offering transfer options. For example, these results suggest that if urban school districts want to diminish the flight of students to suburban or private schools, they should encourage parent involvement in schools, promote st udent achievement, or enhance parents satisfaction with the school s the children already attend. Acknowledgment The authors wish to acknowledge their appreciation for the funding for the data collection by the Office of President Larry Faulkner of The U niversity of Texas at Austin and the support of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, especially Elizabeth Christian, Patti Everitt, and John Fitzpatrick. We also wish to acknowledge the assistance from the Office of Survey Research at the University of Texas at Austin, especially ONeil Provost, Wei Na Lee, and Veronica Inchauste. References Ascher, C., Fruchter, N., & Berne, R. (1996). Hard lessons: Public schools and privatization New York: Twentieth Century Fund. Bielick, S. & Chapman, C. (2003) Trends in the use of school choice 1993 to 1999. Analysis Report. U.S. Department of Education, NCES (NCES 2003 031). Retrieved May 1, 2005 from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubid = 2003031. Bo sitis, D.A. (2001). School vouchers along the color line. The New York Times on the Web, August 15 Retrieved May 1, 2005 from http://www/nytimes.com /2001/08/15/opinion/15BOS1.html. Campbell, D.E., West, M.R. & Peterson, P.E. (2001). Who chooses? Who uses? Participation in a national school voucher program Paper prepared under the auspices of the Program on Education Policy and Governance, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Paper prepared for presentation at the annual meetings of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, California, September. Chubb, J. & Moe, T. (1990). Should market forces control education decision making? American Political Science Review, 84 558 67. Falbo, T. Glover, R.W., Ho lcombe, W.L., Lee, W.N., Inchauste, V., Provost, O., Schexnayder, D. (2001) Parent s atisfaction with s chool quality: Evidence from o ne Texas d istrict. [Report]. Austin, TX: F. Ray Marshall Center, Lyndon Baines
Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 29 16 Johnson School of Public Affairs. Retriev ed May 1, 2005 from http://www.utexas.edu/research/cshr/pubs/pubs.php?id=34. Friedman, M. (1955). The role of government in education In R. Solo (Ed.) Economics and the Public Interest. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Gill, B.P., Timpa ne, P.M., Ross, K.E., & Brewer, D.J. (2001). Rhetoric versus reality: What we know and what we need to know about vouchers and charter schools. Santa Monica, CA : RAND Corporation. Glass, G.V. (1994). School choice: A discussion with Herbert Gintis. E ducation Policy Analysis Archives, 2 (6) Retrieved May 1, 2005 from http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v2n6. html. Henig, J.R. & Sugarman, S.D. (1999) The nature and extent of school choice. In S. D. Surgarman & F. Kemerer (Eds.). School choice and social cont roversy: Politics, policy and law (pp. 13 35). DC: Brookings Institution Press. Howell, W. G. & Peterson, P.E. (2000). School choice in Dayton, Ohio: An evaluation after 1 year. Paper prepared for the conference on charters, vouchers, and public educa tion sponsored by the program on e ducation policy and governance. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Howell, W.G., Peterson, P.E., Wolf, P.J., & Campbell, D.E. (2002). The Education Gap: Vouchers & Urban Schools. Washington, D.C.: Broo kings Institution Press. Lohr, S. (1999). Sampling: Design and analysis Pacific Grove, CA: Duxbury Press. Moe, T.M. (2001). Schools, vouchers, and the American public Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press. National Center for Education Stat istics (1997). The condition of education 1997. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Education. Orfield, G. & Lee, C. (2004). Brown at 50: Kings Dream or Plessys Nightmare? The Civil Rights Project, Harvard University. Retrieved May 1, 2005 from http://civilrightsproject.harvard.edu/research/reseg04/resegregation04.php Peterson, P., Myers, D., Howell, W. (1999) The effects of school choice in New York Ci ty. In S.E. Mayer and P.E. Peterson (Eds.) Earning and learning: How schools matter. (pp. 317 340). Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press. Schneider, M. Teske, P., & Marschall, M. (2000). Choosing schools: Consumer choice and the quality of American schools. Princeton: Princeton University Press. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1992). School choice Princeton, N.J.: Carnegie Foundation.
Falbo et al. : Residential Choice and School Transfer 17 Teske, P. & Schneider, M. (2001). What research can tell po licymakers about school choice. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 20 (4), 609 631. Texas Education Agency (2001b). Academic Excellence Indicator System: 2000 01. District Performance: Austin ISD. Retrieved May 9, 2002 from http://www.tea.state.tx.us Texas Education Agency (2001a). District Requested Snapshot 2001: Austin ISD. Retrieved May 9, 2002 from http://www.tea.state.tx.us Witte, J.F. (2000) The market approach to education: An analysis of Americas first voucher program Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. About the Authors Toni Falbo is Professor of Educational Psychology and Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests inc lude family influences on achievement and international research. Robert W. Glover is Research Scientist at the Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. His re search has focused on various aspects of learning and work. Lee Holcombe is Assistant Director of the Texas Schools Project at the Green Center at the University of Texas at Dallas. In addition to his survey analysis work, his research interests include the analysis of longitudinal data to address education policy issues. Lynne Stokes is Professor of Statistical Science at Southern Methodist University. Her current areas of interest are sampling methods, non sampling errors, and non disclosure methodolo gy.
Education Policy Analysis Archives Vol. 13 No. 29 18 Education Policy Analysis Archives http://epaa.asu.edu Editor: Sherman Dorn University of South Florida Production Assistant: Chris Murrell, Arizona State University General questions about appropriateness of topics or particula r articles may be addressed to the Editor, Sherman Dorn, epaa editor@shermando rn .com EPAA Editorial Board Michael W. Apple University of Wisconsin David C. Berliner Arizona State University Greg Camilli Rutgers University Linda Darling Hammond Stanford Un iversity Mark E. Fetler California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Gustavo E. Fischman Arizona State Univeristy Richard Garlikov Birmingham, Alabama Gene V Glass Arizona State University Thomas F. Green Syracuse University Aimee Howley Ohio University Craig B. Howley Appalachia Educational Laboratory William Hunter University of Ont ario Institute of Technology Patricia Fey Jarvis Seattle, Washington Daniel Kalls Ume University Benjamin Levin University of Manitoba Thomas Mauhs Pugh Green Mountain College Les McLean University of Toronto Heinrich Mintrop University of California, Berkeley Michele Moses Arizona State University Gary Orfield Harvard University Anthony G. Rud Jr. Purdue University Jay Paredes Scribner University of Missouri Michael Scriven Western Michigan University Lorrie A. Shepard University of Colorado, Boulder Robert E. Stake University of Illinois UC Kevin Welner University of Colorado, Boulder Terrence G. Wiley Arizona State University John Willinsky University of British Columbia
Falbo et al. : Residential Choice and School Transfer 19 Archivos Analticos de Polticas Educativas Associate Editors Gustavo E. Fischman & Pablo Gentili Arizona State University & Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Founding Associate Editor for Spanish Language (1998 2003) Roberto Rodrguez Gmez Editorial Board Hugo Aboites Universidad Autnoma Metropolitana Xochimilco Adrin Acosta Universidad de Guadalajara Mxico Claudio Almonacid Avila Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educacin, Chile Dalila Andrade de Oliveira Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brasil Alejandra Birgin Minis terio de Educacin, Argentina Teresa Bracho Centro de Investigacin y Docencia Econmica CIDE Alejandro Canales Universidad Nacional A utnoma de Mxico Ursula Casanova Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona Sigfredo Chiroque Instituto de Pedagoga Popular, Per Erw in Epstein Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois Mariano Fernndez Enguita Universidad de Salamanca. Espaa Gaudncio Frigotto Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil Rollin Kent Universi dad Autnoma de Puebla. Puebla, Mxico Walter Kohan Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil Roberto Leher Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil Daniel C. Levy University at Albany, SUNY, Albany, New York Nilma Limo Gomes Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte Pia Lindquist Wong California State University, Sacramento, California Mara Loreto Egaa Programa Interdisciplinario de Investigacin en Educacin Mariano Narodowski Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Argentina Iolan da de Oliveira Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brasil Grover Pango Foro Latinoamericano de Polticas Educativas, Per Vanilda Paiva Universidade Estadual Do Rio De Janeiro, Brasil Miguel Pereira Catedratico Universidad de Granada, Espaa Angel Ignacio Prez Gmez Universidad de Mlaga Mnica Pini Universidad Nacional de San Martin, Argentina Romualdo Portella do Oliveira Universidade de So Paulo Diana Rhoten Social Science Research Council, New York, New York Jos Gimeno Sacristn Universidad de V alencia, Espaa Daniel Schugurensky Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Canada Susan Street Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropologia Social Occidente, Guadalajar a, Mxico Nelly P. Stromquist University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California Daniel Suarez Laboratorio de Politicas Publicas Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina Antonio Teodoro Universidade Lusfona Lisboa, Carlos A. Torres UCLA Jurjo Torres Santom Universidad de la Corua, Espaa