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School factors and perceptions of information credibility that influence parents considering school choice in urban public schools
Santa Cruz, Rafaela M.Ganley, DeLacy
Cappello, MarvaLuschei, Thomas
Recent trends have found that urban public schools are becoming more segregated racially and by class at a time when there has been a rapid rise in parents exercising public school choice options, including charter schools, magnet schools and district transfer policies. The purpose of this quantitative study of one high poverty secondary feeder pattern of a top 10 urban school district was to examine what sources of information are most credible and which factors are most important to school choice decisionmakers at transition points to the middle and high school. Analyzing responses from 168 surveys in five languages, T-Test and ANOVA comparisons were used to measure statistically significant differences between racial, language, education and age groups. Issues of safety followed by academic rigor were rated highest in the study while convenience factors were significantly more important to African American and Latino families, non-English speakers, and parents with the lowest educational attainment. Existing school reputation was found to be least important among the youngest parents and more important the older the respondent. Statistically significant differences between those who planned to have their children attended their neighborhood school versus those that planned to exercise school choice options were found on the credibility of siblings Parent Construction of School Choice and the popularity of electives in global citizenship/leadership and AVID/College Preparatory. This study confirmed previous literature around the preeminence of safety over academic factors and limitations of school “choice sets” for low income families. However, unlike previous studies, this very racially diverse, high immigrant and less educated sample was less likely to view information from other parents about schools as credible.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Claremont Graduate University and San Diego State University, 2017
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