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Harvard economist Caroline M. Hoxby, a well-known school choice proponent, has published a new study suggesting that when parents have more school districts to choose from, schools are forced to hire teachers with more math and science skills who work harder and come from more selective colleges.
Writing in the fall 2002 Journal of Human Resources, Hoxby argues that the positive effect of parental choice on teaching is apparent in the traditional public school system.
Using the number of school districts in a metropolitan area as a measure of competition among public schools for students, she finds that, other factors being equal, areas with more districts (Boston, for instance, where there are 70 within a commute of downtown) tend to have teachers that went to better colleges, have more math and science skills, and work longer hours than they are required, as opposed to areas with fewer school districts (such