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Where the book really shines, however, is in the consideration of atypical questions, including the importance of parental information networks on the success of choice and the impact of school choice on the formation of social capital.
As Stanford professor of political science Terry Moe writes in review, Choosing Schools is a "tour de force." I encourage anyone interested in the theory underlying education policy and privatization of public goods to read this book.
Utilizing information culled from hundreds of residents in four school districts (two each in New York and New Jersey) the authors of Choosing Schools furnish empirical answers to long-standing questions in the school choice debate: What do parents value in education and do parents choose schools based upon these valuations?; How much do parents really know about their children's schools?, and; Does choice increase parental involvement in the schools? Devoid of hyperbole (a downfall of many self-styled policy pundits) and underwritten by careful theorizing and analyses, the bottom-line is clear: While school choice is not the sole panacea for all that ails the educational enterprise in this day and age, it is a powerful antidote to the sluggish, generally moribund public education system in America.
Choosing Schools is, in a nutshell, exemplary social science and this well-reasoned book deserves a close read, especially by those who matter most in the school choice debate - parents, educators and politicians looking forward to the November polls.
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