Our Mission & Work

We think we can learn a great deal by studying all forms of school choice, on a national scale, from different perspectives, and with different methods. Our goal is to inform and improve choice policy design and implementation, so that these policies do more to increase opportunities and outcomes for disadvantaged students.

Key Policy Levers

Our research is built around five policy levers that have the potential to affect how school choice influences educational opportunities for disadvantaged students.


Families can only make good choices if they have good information about available education options. Our studies in this area will focus on understanding what information families trust and why, as well as how districts and schools can best communicate with families.


Families cannot really choose schools if they do not have transportation to get to them. Our team will examine how school transportation affects student outcomes and student mobility. Our work will also look closely at the effect of public transportation access on where students choose to go to school and later life outcomes.


The schools that children attend depend on what families want and on the enrollment system that admits students to schools. Enrollment systems are especially important when the demand for schools exceeds the number of available seats. REACH researchers will look at how centralized enrollment systems vary in design and implementation with the goal of determining what design elements are most critical for serving disadvantaged students.

Planning & Oversight

Planning and oversight by school districts, charter authorizers, and other government agencies can have a significant influence on the education options available to families. These processes can determine the education options available to families and whether families have real access to these options. Our studies in this area will focus on: school openings and closings; enrollment rules like caps, deadlines, and application processes; how these decisions are made; and what effect they ultimately have on students.

Teacher Policy

Teachers are a crucial part of any school improvement effort, and we hope to better understand how school choice has affected teacher quality and teacher mobility.

Research Sites

In addition to our national analyses, the REACH team will be conducting in-depth studies in 4 states and 5 cities across the country. Below, you’ll find a map of where our work is focused.

  • Dark Green Deep Dive Sites
  • Light Green Additional Sites
Map of studies information below.
  1. 1


    • Public school choice & disadvantaged students study
    • Statewide transportation study
    • School choice and teacher labor markets study
    • Extensive qualitative analysis of implementation of choice levers, and use of choice to serve disadvantaged students
  2. 2


    • Two Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) on information
    • Qualitative analysis of choice and disadvantaged students
  3. 3


    • Study on who chooses charter and virtual schools and why
    • Qualitative analysis of policy implementation of choice levers and use of choice to serve disadvantaged students
  4. 4


    • Qualitative analysis of Scholarship Funding Organizations
  5. 5


    • Qualitative analysis of choice design and implementation, and disadvantaged students
  6. 6

    New Orleans

    • Two Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) on information
    • Centralized enrollment simulation study
  7. 7

    Washington, DC

    • Qualitative analysis of choice design and implementation, and disadvantaged students
  8. 8


    • Transportation studies
  9. 9

    New York City

    • Transportation studies