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District Competition

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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.

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.

Vol. 24, Issue 23, Page 16

Published in Print: February 16, 2005, as District Competition

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