The authors find strong evidence that schools tend to contract with providers used by other schools in their own districts in the past, regardless of past performance. The authors even found no evidence of social learning among schools that share similar demographic characteristics (high percentage of ELL, low pass rates, or being a particularly large school district).
More research must be conducted in order to determine the extent to which policymakers can help school and district administrators optimize their purchasing decisions through dissemination of information versus more direct limitation on choice. How government can help depends largely on how administrators choose (or choose not) to access and use information - a question that must be answered through experimental research using random assignment. Findings will indicate that either administrators would make use of highly accessible information to make evidence-based decisions or be unresponsive to such data, so that policymakers might consider more active policies such as setting defaults or regulating choices.
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