Assessing the Effects of Parental Decisions About School Type and Involvement on Early Elementary Education


Publication Date: September 2006

Publisher: Pardee Rand Graduate School

Author(s): Maria Teresa V. Taningco

Research Area: Education

Type: Report


Low achievement in public schools and wide achievement gaps between learners of color and low income and their white and higher-income peers are persistent concerns in U.S. K-12 schools. Two promising reforms have been proposed to improve educational outcomes: school choice and greater parental involvement. This study examines how these two reforms affect elementary-level student achievement, using nationally representative longitudinal data on early elementary grades in the United States. The author found that school type is not associated with reader scores but that attending a religious private school tends to be negatively correlated with math scores. Academic expectations by parents for their children and children’s reading at home both have robust correlations with reading and math scores but active school involvement by parents has no correlation with reading scores and very little association with math scores.