Magnet School Choice and Its Impacts on Student Achievement and Racial and Socio-Economic Segregation in Florida
Ryoo, Nayong (author)
Berry, Frances Stokes (professor directing dissertation)
Ueno, Koji (university representative)
Feiock, Richard C. (committee member)
Lee, Keon-Hyung (committee member)
School of Public Administration and Policy (degree granting department)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
The rapid growth of magnet schools in the 1980s introduced the first widely adopted form of public school choice in the United States. Magnet-based choice was supported as a way to expand school choice options for parents, to bring innovation through specialty schools and programs, and to promote racial integration voluntarily. Prior to studying the impact of magnet school choice, I examined the role of racial and economic segregation issues in Florida public school systems to understand the background of magnet school policy adoption, to recognize how the impact of magnet school policy has changed, and to discern what role magnet school policy has played in the public school system. Thus, this dissertation examines the impact of magnet schools on the K-12 public school system in Florida as well as the impact that magnet schools have on two important goals in public education reform--higher student academic performance and racial desegregation--using the lens of school choice theory on a market competition approach to public policy. In order to investigate policy impacts more precisely, this study measures school choice policy impact in three ways 1) by policy adoption, 2) by degree of school choice availability, and 3) by degree of policy involvement. Specifically, to assess racial desegregation, this study uses several measurements such as the dissimilarity index (DI), standard deviation and the interracial exposure index (EI) to examine magnet school impact on racial desegregation at the level of both school and school district. To study student academic performance, this study uses Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) scores to examine magnet school impact on student achievement. In addition to studying magnet schools by themselves, this study also examines the combined impact of charter and magnet school policy adoption on these two outcomes in Florida public school districts. I use four data sets for this study. The Common Core Data (CCD) is from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The lsat three datasets-- the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) data; the Florida School/District Indicators Report Data (FSID/FDID); and the Master School Identification (MSID) Data--are all from the Florida Department of Education (FLDoE). The study covers the years 2005-2011, and examines elementary, middle and high school levels. First of all, this study shows demographic trends in magnet, charter and TPSs, by school levels. In Florida, the numbers of students enrolled in magnet schools are increasing steadily, but student enrollment in TPSs is decreasing at all school levels. Generally White students decreased in all districts at all school levels, but Hispanic students increased in all districts at all school levels. The percentage of White students shows the highest percentages in districts without any school choice policies, while the percentages of Black and Hispanic students show the highest percentages in districts with both school choice policies. Student test scores in reading are the highest in districts with magnet school choice policy at all school levels, and student test scores in reading are the lowest in districts without school choice policy at all school levels. Student test scores in mathematics show the same results as the reading test results. However, after controlling for student characteristics, school and teacher characteristics, and district characteristics, the adoption of school choice policy has a negative influence on student performance at all school levels and in both of the subject fields of reading and mathematics, except for the reading score at the elementary level. This study shows the impacts from both magnet and charter school choice policies by utilizing a greater number of measures than prior research. Overall, school choice policy does not have a positive impact on either student performance or racial segregation. Rather, school choice policy has a negative impact on student performance, and charter school policy exacerbates racial segregation in school districts. This study also found that charter school policy exacerbates racial segregation in school districts, and magnet school policy has a significant positive impact on school segregation after controlling for district income inequality, economic status, demographic characteristics and district size. When considering that the use of magnet school policy has the purpose of racial desegregation, however, the impacts from magnet school policy are slight and marginal in Florida school districts.
Charter School, Magnet School, Racial Segregation, School Choice, Socio-Economic Segregation, Student Performance
March 21, 2014.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Public Administration and Policy in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Frances Stokes Berry, Professor Directing Dissertation; Koji Ueno, University Representative; Richard C. Feiock, Committee Member; Keon-Hyung Lee, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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