Exploring School Choice in Canada: Who Chooses What and Why? Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • A variety of policies fall under the banner of “school choice,” each aiming to facilitate educational options beyond a standard public school. This paper pursues three empirical questions. First, at what rates do Canadian parents choose various school options and engage in different forms of choosing? Second, what demographics predict these choices? Third, what educational attitudes and behaviours predict choosing? Data come from a 2005 national survey of Canadian parents that contains comprehensive measures of school options and forms of choosing. Three sets of findings are reported. First, the prevalence of choosing is substantial, with one-third of families opting for a school other than a “standard” public school, and two-thirds exercising some form of school choosing. Second, many of these choices are shaped by parental income and education, though interesting exceptions emerge. Third, school choosing appears to be an extension of parents' participation in their children's education. Policy implications of these findings are discussed.

publication date

  • December 2011