Does School Choice Make Segregation Better or Worse?

by Matthew M. Chingos, Tomas E. Monarrez
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

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This paper synthesizes the best available research on the effect of school choice policies on segregation by race and ethnicity. Many studies find that choice policies can lead to increases in segregation (and very few show the opposite), but the effects tend to be modest in size. Choice policies that are not designed with the goal of integration in mind will, more likely than not, lead to more segregation.

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About the Authors

Matthew M. Chingos is vice president for education data and policy at the Urban Institute. Chingos leads a team of scholars who undertake policy-relevant research on issues from prekindergarten through postsecondary education and create tools such as Urban’s Education Data Portal. He received a BA in government and economics and a PhD in government from Harvard University.

 

Tomas E. Monarrez is a research associate in the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute and a labor economist who focuses on racial and socioeconomic inequities as they relate to public policy and political economy. He received a BA in economics and mathematics from the University of Texas and a PhD in economics from the University of California–Berkeley.