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Balancing School Choice and Equity

An International Perspective Based on Pisa

image of Balancing School Choice and Equity

Many countries are struggling to reconcile greater flexibility in school choice with the need to ensure quality, equity and coherence in their school systems. This report provides an international perspective on issues related to school choice, especially how certain aspects of school-choice policies may be associated with sorting students into different schools. A key question fuelling the school-choice debate is whether greater competition among schools results in more sorting of students by ability or socio-economic status. At the macro level, school segregation can deprive children of opportunities to learn, play and communicate with other children from different social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, which can, in turn, threaten social cohesion. The report draws a comprehensive picture of school segregation, using a variety of indicators in order to account for the diversity of the processes by which students are allocated to schools. 

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Foreword

Many countries are struggling to reconcile their aspirations for greater flexibility and more opportunities for parents to choose their child’s school with the need to ensure quality, equity and coherence in their school systems. The new analyses from PISA presented in this report suggest that this is an achievable goal. School choice, in and of itself, neither assures nor undermines the quality of education. What matters are smart policies that maximise the benefits of choice while minimising the risks, and establishing a level playing field for all providers to contribute to the school system.

English

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