UBC Graduate Research

A systematic review of the literature examining choice programs and issues of equity within public education Gomez, Angela Bonilla; Gelb, Megan; Judson, Ian; Rodgers, Jacob


The aim of this systematic literature review is to explore issues of equity surrounding choice programs in public education. We define choice program as an optional program offered in a public education system that emphasizes a particular language, culture, religion or subject matter, or uses a particular teaching philosophy. Twenty-seven articles met these criteria and were coded for themes, methodology, and location. Several dominant themes emerged relating to inequities of choice in public education: the importance of families’ socioeconomic status, geospatial concerns, issues of access to information, and parent rationale for choosing. Segregation and stratification of student populations due to choice programs were also identified as issues of equity related to educational choice. This review also identifies gaps within the literature and makes recommendations for future research and practice. Finally, this study applies these findings to the local context of Vancouver, BC, Canada, in examining the admissions process for one choice program in the district, a high school arts program (Byng Arts Mini School).

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