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Whose Turn Now? The Enactment & Expansion of Private School Choice Programs across the US

Private school choice policies have been enacted and expanded across the United States since the 1990s. By January 2021, 30 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico hosted 67 distinct private school choice policies. Why have some states adopted and expanded this education reform while others have demurred? Which states are more likely to adopt specific types of private school choice initiatives in the coming years? We present the results of an exploratory empirical analysis examining which state-level political, economic, and educational factors predict past policy decisions regarding the enactment and expansion of private school choice in 49 states from 2000 to 2016. The results from our most preferred statistical model further predict which states are more and less likely to take action towards such policies in subsequent years. The political factors involving Republican control of the governorship and legislature, prevalence of minority students in the K-12 population, and share of private school enrollment in the state prove to be highly predictive factors in school choice adoption. The economic factor of a comparatively low state per-capita GDP also consistently predicts school choice policy adoption in our models.

School Choice, School Vouchers, Policy Adoption
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Sude, Yujie, and Patrick J. Wolf. (). Whose Turn Now? The Enactment & Expansion of Private School Choice Programs across the US. (EdWorkingPaper: 21-498). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University:

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