ON-Lion Letter
Transportation is clearly a consideration to be factored into any discussion of school choice.  Yet we know very little about how much it matters in families' decisions about their children's school and almost nothing about how much of a barrier it is to school choice, especially for low-income families.
 
A new report from the University of Washington Center on Reinventing Public Education's "Doing School Choice Right" (DSCR) project addresses several questions about parents, transportation, and school choice.  How far does the average family want their child to travel to school?  Would they be as comfortable letting their younger children travel as far as they might a middle- or high-school student?  What transportation options are available to low-income families?  The study attempts obtain meaningful data to help shape school-transportation policy.

Drivers of Choice:  Parents, Transportation, and School Choice, by University of Colorado-Denver School of Public Affairs dean Paul Teske and DSCR's Jody Fitzpatrick and Tracey O'Brien, surveys the landscape of transportation and school choices.  For the project, Teske, Fitzpatrick, and O'Brien contacted large school districts to find out their policies on transportation and choice, then examined district budgets to see how much they actually spend on transportation. 

Most important, the project surveyed families in two cities -- Denver and Washington, D.C. -- to find out their travel patterns and school-choice options.  The study breaks down that data, collected from households earning less than $75,000 in annual income, to determine how much transportation is a barrier to choice.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports DSCR, along with Baltimore's Annie E. Casey Foundation and Seattle's Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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