Recent Articles

Durability and debate: How state-level policy actors frame school choice




school choice, policy analysis, case studies


School choice policies have become a prominent feature of K-12 education in recent decades, reflecting the broader institutionalization of market-based political ideology in education. In this qualitative multiple case study, we draw on framing theory and interviews with 57 state-level education policy actors to explore the nature of the continued debate over school choice in five U.S. states. We find five patterns of framing choice as beneficial, centering around five purported goals–quality, equity, liberty, plurality, and innovation–along with critiques of these frames. Our findings illustrate that despite the contested nature of these policies, the broad appeal and flexibility of “choice”’ helps to explain its durability.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Eupha Jeanne Daramola, University of California, Santa Barbara

Eupha Jeanne Daramola is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She uses qualitative and mixed methods to critically analyze K–12 educational politics and policies, specifically attending to issues of race, racism, and antiBlackness in schooling.

Taylor N. Allbright, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Taylor N. Allbright is the founder of Allbright Coaching and Consulting, LLC. Her research draws on political, organizational, and critical perspectives to examine efforts to advance equity and social justice in K–12 schools.

Julie A. Marsh, University of Southern California

Julie A. Marsh is a professor of education policy at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education and Sol Price School of Public Policy. Her research blends perspectives in education, sociology, and political science to examine K–12 policy and governance, with particular attention to the process and politics of adoption and implementation and the equity-implications for historically marginalized students.

Huriya Jabbar, University of Texas at Austin

Huriya Jabbar is an associate professor in the Educational Policy and Planning program in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research examines the social and political dimensions of market-based reforms and privatization in education, with a focus on the implications of these policies for equity and access.

Kate E. Kennedy, RAND Corporation

Kate E. Kennedy is an associate policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. Her research interrogates policies and practices related to K12 educational policy and leadership. Areas of specialization include social-emotional well-being, care, school choice, and school district leadership.





How to Cite

Daramola, E. J., Allbright, T. N., Marsh, J. A., Jabbar, H., & Kennedy, K. E. (2023). Durability and debate: How state-level policy actors frame school choice. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 31.