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ERIC Number: ED553296
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 231
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3030-5337-5
Public v. Private: Parental Choice of Schools and the Reasons Why
Dauber, Jonathan J.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
With the rise in alternatives to public schools over the past three decades, it is clear that families have a variety of options in addition to the local public school. These opportunities have created a competitive marketplace where all schools, public included, are now competing for families. Parents are increasingly viewed as consumers and, depending on their positions with regard to large scale educational goals and the specific educational needs of their families, many have a greater opportunity to make decisions about what suits their needs best (Cookson, 1994). Parents who choose private schools are generally pursuing higher levels of, or looking to maintain, social advantages for the next generation of their family (Bourdieu & Passeron, 2000; Cookson, 1994). This pursuit of education by families can be explained as a conflict between social classes (Sadovnik et al., 2006). Educational credentials, as indicators of status, have become more important than actual levels of student achievement related to knowledge and skills. The rise in credentialism during the twentieth century has helped dominant groups to continue to locate greater advantages for their children as they relate to their place within the system of education as well as society (Collins, 1979). At the micro-level there are a number of reasons that reflect why parents choose private schools over public schools. Research shows parental decisions to choose a private school is often very complex and it is very unlikely that one particular reason is used for making a particular decision (Bosetti, 2004; Cookson, 1994). Three micro-level themes consistently identified by researchers pertaining to parents' decisions to choose private schools include academics, values, and school characteristics which includes themes related to smaller class size and a more personalized learning environment. This case study explored the issue of student and family attrition from public schools when parents chose to remove their children from a suburban public school to enroll them in a private school. It also examined student and family attrition from private schools when parents chose to remove their children from private schools to enroll them in the local public school. Parents who opted to leave the public schools for private schools maintained reasons that consistently followed the research literature; doing so due to experiences, or the anticipation of such experiences in future grades, related to poor academic challenge, social climate issues, and a lack of personalization within the learning environment. Parents who opted to leave private school for public school did so primarily because the value was not there when comparing the cost of a private education with what was offered in the local public schools. In addition, these parents wanted a greater sense of social exposure, awareness, and understanding for their children which they felt would be more likely to be found in the local public school system. Public school administrators need to be aware of such reasons to develop and implement effective instructional programs given the competitive marketplace that involves public and private education (Cookson, 1994). As parents have extensive options related to school choice, this awareness is critical to successfully obtaining and retaining students and their families as part of a student body and school community (Coleman & Hoffer, 1987; Gutmann, 1987; Schneider et al., 2000). It is in developing this awareness that more public school administrators should be better able understand why and how they fail to meet student and family needs as well as what they need to do to reverse this trend. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A