Rappaport Institute Study Analyzes School Preference in Boston

June 27, 2013

The Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston answers the question, "What do Boston parents want?," in its latest Working Paper. The report comes up with key findings from an analysis of school demand by Boston parents:

  1. Proximity matters – parents prefer closer schools.
  2. Achievement is essential – MCAS scores are the strongest correlation to demand in Kindergarten and Grade 9. There is no effect in Grade 6.
  3. Certain reforms are popular – parents are choosing schools with K1 (over K2 only) classes and K-8 (over K-5) structures.
  4. School offerings, both structural and programs, had no or minimal impact – overall school size, computer facilities, and gyms did not have a significant impact. Art, music, and science lab facilities had minimal or no impact.

"What Do Parents Want: An Exploration of School Preferences Expressed by Boston Parents," was authored by Professor Edward Glaeser, Steve Poftak and Kristina (Nina) Tobio. It analyzes data provided by Boston Public Schools and the Massachusetts School Building Authority to determine what factors are most closely correlated with popular schools in Boston’s public school lottery.
"BPS faces the challenging task of implementing the new assignment process, addressing school quality, and adding additional capacity," said Rappaport Institute Executive Director Steve Poftak. "This report provides a useful framework for addressing these challenges and understanding what parents want."
"What Do Parents Want" also provides detailed information on how neighborhood, racial composition and socio-economic conditions impact school preferences.

About the Authors
Edward L. Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard University and Director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston and the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Steve Poftak is the Executive Director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston.
Nina Tobio is the Assistant Director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government.

Prof. Edward Glaeser

Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard University; Director, Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston; Director, Taubman Center for State and Local Government

"This report provides a useful framework for addressing these challenges and understanding what parents want," said Steve Poftak.

 


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