Education Report Roundup

District Competition

By Sean Cavanagh — February 15, 2005 1 min read

A new study argues that findings of potential links between school district competition and improved student academic performance, as cited in a previous study, are overstated and need to be studied more carefully.

“Does Competition Among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers? A Comment on Hoxby” is available online from Education Research Section at Princeton University. ()

Jesse Rothstein, an assistant professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, is the author of the new study, which analyzes research published in 2000 by Harvard University professor Caroline M. Hoxby. In her work, Ms. Hoxby explored the potential academic benefits of having several relatively small districts competing within metropolitan areas.

In his study, Mr. Rothstein says there is little evidence that the district competition cited by Ms. Hoxby actually affected student performance. More direct studies of competition-based programs, such as tuition vouchers, are needed before policymakers should accept them as effective, he writes.

A version of this article appeared in the February 16, 2005 edition of Education Week