School choice as a bounded ideal

Journal of Philosophy of Education 43 (4):527-544 (2009)
Abstract
School choice is most often viewed through the lens of provision: most of the debate on the issue searches for desirable ways to offer vouchers, scholarships or other tools that provides choice as a way to achieve equality and/or freedom. This paper focuses on the consumer side of school choice, and utilises behavioural economics as well as ethnographic and network studies to consider ways to structure choice which respond to actual cognitive and social processes of choice. These empirical studies give scholars and policy-makers who grapple with school choice a perspective that should affect the principled design of these programs as well as their execution. The paper considers the ways in which actual choice processes should affect current visions of school choice. It concludes with recommendations concerning the design of choice sets and the accessibility of information regarding choice, which together can assist school choice policies in better fulfilling their promise of equality and freedom.
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