Assessment Report Roundup

Educational Accountability

By Sarah D. Sparks — October 06, 2015 1 min read

Seeing local schools poorly ranked for quality can drive more voters to the polls for school board elections—but it tends to spur only affluent residents who said they were likely to vote anyway.

In a Duke University study forthcoming in the American Political Science Review, public-policy researcher John Holbein analyzed North Carolina school board races from 2004 to 2012 in communities where schools failed to make adequate yearly progress under federal accountability rules.

On average, voters whose local schools failed to make AYP had higher turnout in the next school board election by 5 to 8 percentage points more than the average effect of direct mail or phone campaigns. In North Carolina, where many of the school board races during the study were close, Holbein found the turnout boost was as large as or larger than the winning candidate’s margin of victory at least a third of the time.

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A version of this article appeared in the October 08, 2015 edition of Education Week as Educational Accountability

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