How Parents Experience Public School Choice

This report examines parents’ experiences with public school choice across eight “high-choice” cities: Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. In each city, researchers surveyed 500 public school parents (4,000 total) and collected data on the systems that shape how they navigate school choice, including the availability of information, the process of enrolling, and transportation options.

• Parents are taking advantage of choice, but they want more good options.
• Parents’ optimism about whether schools are improving varies widely.
• Parents with less education, minority parents, and parents of children with special needs are more likely to report challenges navigating choice.
• Some parents are forced to make difficult trade-offs between academics, safety, and location.