inBRIEF Issue 7: School Choice


Complex Choices: How Parents Navigate School Options in Duval County

The landscape of school choice options in public education has been expanding faster than ever across the country over the past decade, and particularly here in Florida.

With this expansion has come an unprecedented array of decisions for parents to learn how to navigate in determining the best type of school for their children.

In this November 2014 policy brief, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund examines the complex system of school choice in Duval County, and how parents find their way through it.

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>> Download the report (PDF).

>> Download the School Choice Reference Guide (PDF).

>> See an interactive graphic with full survey results.

>> Watch the School Choice Webinar

>> How to Choose a School Guide (PDF).


Key Findings

In This Report

Complex Choices: How Parents Navigate School Options in Duval County looks at the wide variety of schooling options available to parents and guardians -- from magnet programs and traditional public schools to charter schools, virtual schools and much more.

Among the key findings:

  • Over the last five years, 43 percent of public school sixth graders did not transition from fifth grade into their neighborhood middle school; at the transition from eighth to ninth grade, it was 47 percent.
  • Student achievement dips between fifth and sixth grade - regardless of whether students attend their neighborhood school or not.
  • Teacher quality and safety are the top two most important factors cited by parents of most different school types.
  • The percentage of students enrolled in charter schools in Duval County has gone up 344 percent since 2009, compared with an increase of 69 percent state-wide.

As part of this expansive research on school choice, we turned to the key decision-makers: parents. We surveyed more than 1,000 parents and guardians of students in all types of schools throughout the county to better understand their motivations and what they're looking for in choosing the right school for their children.

Check out  these expanded, interactive visualizations to explore the survey results and read quotes from parents who have navigated the school choice options in our county firsthand.

Download the full report (PDF) to learn more! And join us for one of the interactive webinars to learn more and get your questions answered.

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Helpful Information and Resources

Want to know how to identify all of your school choice options? Here are some resources that might be of help to you.

Visit for detailed academic and enrollment data, as well as school and contact information, on every public and charter school in Duval County.  You can also use this website to locate your zoned public schools for elementary, middle and high school.

For additional information:

School Type

Helpful Links

Traditional Public Schools, click on "Parents"

Magnet Schools/Programs, click on "Magnet Schools"

Charter Schools, click on "Charter Schools"

Private Schools, click "Private school information for parents"

Virtual Schools

Home School and click "Home Education"

Additional Research

Tips on Evaluating School Options (OCPS Guide)

Some of these studies were referenced in the brief:

Charter, private, public schools and academic achievement: New evidence from NAEP mathematics data

Comparing private schools and public schools using hierarchical linear modeling

Student achievement in private schools: Results from NAEP 2000-2005

Are private high schools better academically than public high schools?

Primer on portfolio school district reform

Keeping informed about school vouchers

The effects of school vouchers on college enrollment




of public schools in Duval County earned an "A," "B," or "C" in 2021-2022.