Parental Choice of Schools

Moshe Tatar, Kalman Benyamini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The first part of this article surveys discursive and research literature pertaining to parental choice of schools. Those in favor rely on parents basic right to determine the kind of education they desire for their children. Allowing parents the choice of schools is said to encourage institutional competition and, as a result, improve the educational quality of schools. Opponents of this approach claim that in reality parental choice is limited to the choosing of an educational system and not of a particular school. It has also been argued that in the absence of objective information about schools, parents choices tend to be biased by unfounded school reputations. In the second part of the article a survey conducted among 458 parents of sixth, eighth and ninth graders attending Jerusalem schools is presented. Respondents ranked a series of possible factors according to which they would choose a school for their child if they had a choice. The highest priorities were given to the quality of teaching and curricula, educational programs and school management. Secondary status was accorded to more extrinsic factors such as school reputation, social status of the schools population, etc. Similar patterns of preference were found among different subgroups of parents. Conditions under which parents choices might in fact be guided by such intrinsic school factors as were found in the present inquiry are discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)255-269
Number of pages15
JournalSchool Psychology International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1992

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1. The study was conducted under the auspices of the NCJW Institute for Innovation in Education at the School of Education of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and funded by the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Education and Culture. This survey was part of a broader research project on 'the prestige of schools as viewed by parents'.


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