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School Choice in Vancouver: Implications and Policy Options

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This paper examines the effects of school choice legislation introduced by the Provincial Government in 2002 on the Vancouver School Board (District 39) elementary and secondary schools. It employs qualitative and quantitative research methods to determine the changes in school enrollment and school performance post-choice policy. It found a correlation between average student test performance in a school and changes in the school enrollment, with the top performing schools increasing their enrollment and the worst performing schools undergoing a decline. Since average socio-economic status of a school’s students contributes to average student performance in a school, improving student performance in a choice system becomes a matter of compensating for the socio-economic inequalities within a school system. The paper analyzes and proposes policies that the Vancouver School Board can implement in order to deliver equitable student outcomes in a choice model.
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