Lessons on Making School Choice Easier for Families

Mom walking her kids to school in an urban environment

Districts are expanding school choice options for families – whether within existing public school systems or with charters and vouchers. Can lessons about choice from other policy arenas help improve the school choice process?

Choosing a school can be overwhelming and complex for families as they try to find a school that best meets their children’s needs. It may require keeping track of multiple deadlines, understanding how schools differ in academic quality, and considering the location of the school and the transportation costs of getting there. All of this can prove especially challenging for low-income and recent-immigrant families who may be dealing with unstable housing, limited transportation options, and language barriers.

Offering supports, simplifying the processes, and personalizing information, among other things, can help families navigate decisions about school choice.

Join Katie Beal as she talks to Barbara Condliffe, Research Associate at MDRC, who recently co-wrote a brief with Rekha Balu on building a school choice architecture.

About Evidence First

Policymakers talk about solutions, but which ones really work? MDRC’s Evidence First podcast features experts—program administrators, policymakers, and researchers—talking about the best evidence available on education and social programs that serve people with low incomes.

About Leigh Parise

Leigh PariseEvidence First host Leigh Parise plays a lead role in MDRC’s education-focused program-development efforts and conducts mixed-methods education research. More