How Eating Patterns Influence School Decisions in DC

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This is a follow-up to Exit & Voice: Perceptions of District Public Schools among Residents and Leavers.


Many DC public school students change schools at some point between Kindergarten and Grade 12, switching to a different eating pattern. At the final transition point, which is between 8e and 9e grade, the most popular school-to-school feeding model in the District of Columbia Public School System (DCPS) is Wilson High School,[1] where 54 percent of students in 8e Foster College degrees continue through Grade 9 at Wilson High School.[2] All other DCPS high schools have a lower percentage of 8e graders continuing at 9e grade in their feeding pattern. This is in part due to the popularity of DCPS high schools throughout the city and applications, and in part because public charter high schools attract around 9e graders.

Unlike DCPSs, most public charter schools do not have clear power models for students. Only about 68 percent of 8th grade students who attend a public charter college have a high school supply.[3] But among some of the larger charter schools (and we’re referring to LEAs here),[4] there are established feeder models, and therefore feeder retention rates are higher: 70% of 8e graders at KIPP DC PCS and 55 percent of 8e Friendship PCS students have made the transition from grade 8 to 9 in their respective eating patterns.[5]

A recent Brookings Institution analysis of school choice discussions in a popular online forum found that feeding patterns are mentioned in about one in five posts and are often linked to conversations about residential moves, which shows that for some families, feeding patterns are taken into account in school decisions.[6] In a regional survey that explored perceptions and satisfaction with DCPS and public charter schools and how parents choose a school for their child, the DC Policy Center asked parents about Extent to which eating patterns influence parents’ decisions to choose public schools in DC.[7] We looked at these aspects in detail for two groups of parents: DC parents (especially those with all children attending public schools) and leavers (especially those who moved from DC to neighboring areas of Canada. Maryland and Virginia.

Eating patterns do not deter parents from choosing DC public schools.

For parents who chose to leave DC public schools, the eating patterns themselves didn’t seem to be a major push factor: only 7% of DC parents who didn’t choose public schools did. cited diet patterns as a factor in their decision. By comparison, 42 percent of this group cited school quality as a factor in why they did not choose public schools, followed by 26 percent who mentioned school safety. Among the group of school leavers who moved to Maryland or Virginia, only 11 percent mentioned eating habits as a factor.

However, eating patterns are also not a factor that draws parents to DC public schools.

In addition to not being a major push factor for parents who leave, eating habits are not a major push factor for parents who stay. Only 3% of DC public school parents mentioned eating patterns as their reason for choosing DC public schools. Similar to those who left for private options or for schools in Maryland and Virginia, school quality was also the main reason parents chose DC public schools (45%), followed by school trips (11%) and school safety (10%). .

Many parents expect their child to stay in DC public schools, but may at some point move to a school outside of their eating pattern.

While eating patterns may not have been a major factor in choosing schools, parental satisfaction with eating patterns may affect exit decisions in later classes. . For parents who have children enrolled in DC public schools, only 55 percent were satisfied with their eating habits, compared to 74 percent satisfied with the quality of teachers and 71 percent satisfied with communication from administration. school.[8]

While it’s not clear whether parents’ plans to change eating habits are motivated by low satisfaction or if these decisions were planned earlier, we do know that many parents are planning to change eating habits. Over time: Half of DC public school parents (53%) say they are likely to make a change in the future at a school in a different eating pattern. Most of these parents (80 percent) are considering another DC public school, and 27 percent are considering a private school or a public school outside the district. This suggests that at least half of parents who choose DC public schools do so in the hope that they will make a change in eating pattern at some point. When asked why they would make these changes, 47% of parents surveyed mentioned the quality of the school, and about one in four parents mentioned transitions to a new school (for example, college or high school), l school location, access to a different feeding model, or school demographics.

Despite the attention that eating patterns receive in some public conversations, parents surveyed seem to view eating patterns as less important than other aspects of school such as quality, safety and movement. Even though at least half of parents in DC public schools plan to change feeding patterns at some point, feeding patterns aren’t one of the top school-related reasons parents leave. DC, nor one of the main reasons parents choose DC schools audiences. Looking at enrollment data and movement between schools, feeding patterns may be a minor factor in school decisions for most parents, as feeding patterns are only strong in some schools with high participation rates (for DCPS in parts of town within Wilson High School[9] or for public charter schools like KIPP DC PCS and Friendship PCS, as mentioned earlier). For the majority of students and their families who do not attend schools with high participation rates in eating patterns or their feeding schools, a high degree of school choice may reduce the importance of eating patterns. , which makes it an item to navigate, rather than a barrier to staying in DC public schools.

The full survey results for other aspects of school decisions and perceptions are available in the full report, Exit & Voice: Perceptions of the District’s public schools between stayers and Leavers.


Remarks

[1] Coffin, C. 2018. Neighborhood schools. DC Policy Center. Available at: https://www.dcpolicycenter.org/publications/schools-in-the-neighbourhood/

[2] DC Policy Center analysis of Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) enrollment audit data for 2016-2017 and District of Columbia Auditor’s Office (ODCA) data for the 2016- school years 2017 to 2017-2018 in support of the report, DC Public School Enrollment Projections: Controls Needed to Ensure Funding Equity. For more information visit: https://dcauditor.org/report/enrollment-projections-in-dc-public-schools-controls-needed-to-ensure-funding-equity/

[3] Data for the 2016-17 school year.

[4] LEAs stand for Local Education Agencies, which are individual school districts. In DC, there are 68 LEAs, including the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and 67 public chartered LEAs that operate as independently managed not-for-profit organizations.

[5] DC Policy Center analysis of Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) enrollment audit data for 2016-2017 and District of Columbia Auditor’s Office (ODCA) data for the 2016- school years 2017 to 2017-2018 in support of the report, DC Public School Enrollment Projections: Controls Needed to Ensure Funding Equity. For more information visit: https://dcauditor.org/report/enrollment-projections-in-dc-public-schools-controls-needed-to-ensure-funding-equity/

[6] Williamson, V., Gode, J. and Sun, H. 2021. “We all want the best for our children. : Discussing DC Public School Options in an Online Forum. The Brookings Institution. Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/research/we-all-want-whats-best-for-our-kids/

[7] The fieldwork was carried out in January 2021 and February 2021 in collaboration with the research firm SSRS. A representative sample of DC parents from the eight neighborhoods was recruited by address-based sampling. Leavers living in Maryland and Virginia were identified by survey panels. For more information visit: https://www.dcpolicycenter.org/publications/school-leavers/

[8] Coffin, C. and Sayin Taylor, Y. 2021. Exit and voice: Perceptions of the district’s public schools among those who stay and leavers. DC Policy Center. Available at: https://www.dcpolicycenter.org/publications/school-leavers/

[9] Coffin, C. 2018. Neighborhood schools. DC Policy Center. Available at: https://www.dcpolicycenter.org/publications/schools-in-the-neighbourhood/

DC Policy Center Fellows are freelance writers and we welcome the expression of a variety of perspectives. The views of our fellows, published here or elsewhere, do not reflect the views of the DC Policy Center.


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