But Is It Safe? Experimental Evidence on the School Characteristics That Affect Students’ and Parents’ Perceptions of School Safety and School Choices.

Chantal Hailey , New York University (NYU)

While families report safety as a prominent factor in their school choice decisions and studies on families’ actual middle and high school choices demonstrate contradictory evidence on the role of school safety in school choices, no study has estimated the effect of school safety on families' school choices. This study fills this gap, using visual and text vignette survey experiments with current high school choosers in NYC and a nationally representative sample. By randomly varying the school characteristics presented in hypothetical school profiles, the experiment separates the effects of salient school and neighborhood safety information, racial demographics, and visual cues of insecurity on parents’ and students’ perceptions of school safety and school choice decisions. Pretest results reveal that safety affects parents’ school choices; parents perceive schools with more Black and Latino students as less safe and less desirable and differentially interpret visual cues depending on schools' racial context.

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 Presented in Session 2. Children & Youth