An economist delves into charter schools: PhD student Elizabeth Setren brings data to bear on questions about local education policy”

MIT News; June 21, 2016

Elizabeth Setren was a sopho­more at Brandeis University try­ing to fig­ure out how to com­bine her dual loves of math and pub­lic pol­i­cy when she stum­bled across the per­fect answer: eco­nom­ics. Now, as a PhD stu­dent in eco­nom­ics at MIT, Setren has spent the past four years research­ing the char­ter school sys­tem in Boston in an attempt to fig­ure out what exact­ly is going on, and what pol­i­cy­mak­ers need to know.


As she strives to “infuse facts into what’s a very emo­tion­al and ide­o­log­i­cal debate” on the expan­sion of char­ter schools in the Boston area, Setren is also work­ing close­ly with school lead­ers, and she meets with deci­sion-mak­ers in the pol­i­cy sphere to ensure that they have as much infor­ma­tion as pos­si­ble. In fact, she reg­u­lar­ly presents her work to var­i­ous agen­cies such as the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and her research is fea­tured on Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s website.