Wednesday, April 25, 2018

School Safety And School Choice: Comment To "Q&A: How an Economist Unlocked Hidden Truths About School Choice"

My comment to The Wall Street Journal, Real Time Economics, "Q&A: How an Economist Unlocked Hidden Truths About School Choice: Parag Pathak of MIT, winner of the John Bates Clark Medal for the nation’s most impressive economist under 40, says he 'fell into the topic' " by Michelle Hackman:
Prof failed to mention that many parents when given a choice will choose a new school based on its safer environment than its higher academic quality. Some studies try to hide this fact. Probably because many inner city, unionized schools are unsafe. A parent survey may ask for the parent's primary reason for leaving the old school with only a single question about academics and with multiple questions that have a student safety component, such as bullying, lack of discipline, lack of morals, safe environment, etc. The multiple questions with a safety component dilute the response rate and make it appear that safety is less important than academics to parents who want a choice. A choice, like a purchase, allows the parent to acquire a basket of benefits (safety, academics, sports, etc) that more closely matches the parent's and student's priority of benefits and more closely matches their wishes. Having a choice is always better.

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