School choice researchers are often limited to comparing one type of choice with another (e.g., charter schools vs. traditional public schools). One area researchers have not examined is the effects of different school types within the same urban region. We fill this gap by analyzing longitudinal data for students (grades 3–8) in Indianapolis, using student fixed effects models to estimate the impacts of students switching from a traditional public school to a charter, magnet, Catholic, or other private school. We find that students experience no differences in their achievement gains after transferring from a traditional public school to a charter school. However, students switching to magnet schools experience modest annual losses of −0.09 standard deviation (SD) in mathematics and −0.11 SD in English Language Arts. Students switching to Catholic schools also experience annual losses of −0.18 SD in mathematics. These findings are robust to a series of alternative model specifications. Additionally, we find some variability in the mean school type impacts by students’ race/ethnicity, English language learner status, and number of years enrolled in a choice school. We discuss our results in the context of the variability of choice school effects across an entire urban area, something future research needs to examine.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Borends, Mark and Waddington, R. Joseph, "School Choice in Indianapolis: Effects of Charter, Magnet, Private, and Traditional Public Schools" (2018). Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation Faculty Publications. 8.