This article examines past and present research on school choice within its larger political context, focusing on market-driven choice programs such as vouchers and charter schools. Although methodologically and theoretically the domain of choice research is in its infancy, a growing number of increasingly sophisticated studies of choice programs allow us to start drawing more definitive conclusions about the effects of choice on students and schools. After a brief overview of the larger political context in which choice research takes place, we examine in detail the current state of knowledge on school choice: who is participating in choice programs, the effect of choice on parent and student satisfaction and student achievement, and the impact of choice programs on school districts and school reform. We conclude with a brief discussion of the implications of the politics of research on market-driven choice for American education.
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