What a Car Seen Parked in Uptown New Orleans Tells Us About the Future of School Choice

This picture was sent to me by a regular relinquishment.org blog reader.

The reader will get a free tote bag.

Conservatively, the picture is worth at least a thousand words:

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I blurred out the license plate and added the red circles. For those not familiar with the branding of New Orleans schools, the sticker on the left is from Ursuline Academy; the sticker on the right is from Bricolage Academy.

Ursuline Academy is a private school that charges about 10K a year. Here’s a brief description from their website.

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Bricolage is a free public charter school with a focus on enrolling a socio-economically and racially diverse student population. From their website:

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Reflections

1. Private schools serving upper-middle class families will increasingly be competing with diverse by design charter schools.

2. In states without universal voucher programs, diverse by design charter schools will have a 10-15K annual cost advantage.

3. The revealed preference of middle and upper-middle class families appears to be that (1) most of them will spend 10-30K a year in enrollment or mortgage costs to not send their children to schools that exclusively serve poor, minority students (2) but that many of them will send their children to free public schools if the poor, minority enrollment percentage is in the 30-50% range.

4. If there were a betting market for school sector market share, I would be very bullish on diverse by design charter schools that serve students in liberal urban areas. I would be bearish on middle tier private schools serve students in liberal urban areas.

5. I view the growth of the diverse by design charter school sector as a positive development in the school choice movement. Done well, I think it will be good for children, good for families, and good for the politics of the choice movement as a whole.

6. I think there is some risk that this market demand will be filled by lower-quality school operators that do not provide an excellent education to all of the children in their buildings. I hope this does not occur.

7. I thought about titling this post: the New White Flight. A change in values, choices, and economics might be driving white families back into public schools. I didn’t title the post the New White Flight, because I didn’t want the post to have disparaging feel, as I’m genuinely excited about these trends. That being said, I find the phrase to have some explanatory value, so here it appears in reflection #7.

8. The New White Flight, if it occurs, will have tax implications. Right now public schools are in-part paid for by families who send their children to private schools. An increase in public school enrollment without an increase in tax revenue will lead to lower per-pupil funding amounts. Or not. Perhaps if wealthy people are sending their children to public schools, they will support an increase in taxes to fund the schools where they enroll their children.

One thought on “What a Car Seen Parked in Uptown New Orleans Tells Us About the Future of School Choice

  1. Mike G

    “Perhaps if wealthy people are sending their children to public schools, they will support an increase in taxes to fund the schools where they enroll their children.”

    Perhaps. But wouldn’t many of these parents, those inclined to want diverse schools, already be supporting higher ed spending in public schools?

    Like

    Reply

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