Insights and Trends in Student Enrollment

Policy Brief: School Choice Architecture

Posted March 24, 2016

Daniel E. Rauch, Yale Law & Policy Review, Volume 34 | Issue 1 (2016)


Studies have found that by changing how choices are presented, policymakers can influence better decision making. However, this framework has not yet been applied to school choice, which allows families in certain cities to choose from a long list of schools for both elementary and secondary education.

This school selection process has created important choice-architecture opportunities for policymakers to assist families with making good decisions; but cities have not yet seized the opportunities. Parents are offered long lists of alphabetized school choices and without extensive research decisions are often uninformed.

Several fixes might be implemented to help families improve their decision-making around school choices and to allow them to distinguish between successful and failing schools. The mechanics and procedures around school choice matter as much as the availability of excellent schools. Cities and education reformers need to focus their efforts on ensuring that families have access to information that allows them to make the most informed decisions possible.

View/download the policy brief from Yale Law School.

Watch a recorded webinar that shows how managing school choice with an automated solution can help ensure that parents understand their full range of options.

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