Purpose. The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify and describe the attributes of public charter schools considered important for the selection of a charter school as perceived by the parents of charter school students. A second purpose of this study was to identify the sources parents used to inform their decision to enroll their child in a charter school.
Methodology. This qualitative study was accomplished by interviewing parents of public charter school students in three districts within San Bernardino County. The interview consisted of nine open-ended questions and each interview was recorded to ensure accuracy of the responses. The results of the interview were analyzed and organized into a narrative form. The population for the study included parents of public charter school students.
Findings. The participants noted smaller class sizes, higher educational quality, and a more nurturing environment as the main reasons for selecting a public charter school. Their answers also indicated the variety of programs available to them at charter schools influenced their decision to enroll their children. Participants noted talking with friends and family as a major source of gathering information about schools. Using some form of the internet was also instrumental for parents when obtaining information about a given school.
Conclusions. The results of this study supported the conclusion that parent perceptions of schools and the education they offer may be more influential than the school’s performance on state assessments. Results indicated many other factors influenced a parent’s selection of a school. A positive environment, which cultivated learning, and a variety of educational opportunities were crucial attributes for many parents.
Recommendations. The researcher recommended the study be replicated in a different region of California to see if the results remain the same. Additionally, a study should be conducted to see how many and why parents removed their children from public charter schools and returned them to traditional public schools.
|Commitee:||Koss, Paulette, Valencia, Esmirna|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational evaluation, Education|
|Keywords:||Charter school, Class size, Parent perceptions, Parental preference, Public school, School choice|
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