Do School Buses Make School Choice Work?

In this quasi-experimental study, the authors explore how the availability of school bus services influences where parents send their children to school in New York City. Their data looks at students’ eligibility for school bus services among kindergarten students in 2017. The study employs a regression discontinuity design to estimate the causal effects of bus eligibility and distance to school on students’ school choice. The results show that having access to a school bus makes parents more likely to pick a particular school for their kindergarteners – especially for charter schools. This effect is more pronounced as distance to school increases. This study suggests that providing school buses can make a significant difference in providing more school options for families, particularly in urban areas where distance can be a barrier to accessing diverse educational opportunities. This insight is crucial for shaping effective school choice policies, emphasizing the need to integrate transportation solutions to support diverse educational choices.

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