This week I've been talking about school choice, so who better to introduce to you than an up and coming school choice researcher. Doug Lauen is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His dissertation was about the causes and consequences of Chicago's public school choice programs. For all of you school choice junkies, you can find his papers here.
In his most recent paper, Lauen addressed a gaping hole in school choice research. Most research has focused on individual students and families, and ignored the role of one's surroundings - for example, how disadvantaged one's neighborhood is - in affecting one's likelihood of choosing a non-neighborhood public school or a private school. Lauen takes into account not only individual characteristics, but contextual characteristics. Some of his findings:
- Attending a predominantly black elementary school, living in a predominantly black neighborhood, or living in a neighborhood with a high degree of concentrated disadvantage decreases the chances of attending a selective enrollment school.
- Affluence has the opposite effect, increasing students' chances of attending a selective school.