Understanding Parental Choice of A Charter School
Ahmed, Shaik M 1972-
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The overall condition of education within the state of Texas, as well as the nation as a whole, depends greatly upon the efforts and contributions offered by students’ parents. In fact, the overall success of a student hinges critically on the shared network of relationships between parents, students, and the educators. The future of the state of Texas is critically linked to the future of the students. Subsequently, increasing dropout rates have translated to significant and negative societal impacts for all citizens. The education system is wholly responsible for educating the children of our state; yet, public schools continue to struggle in their efforts to increase parental involvement in the school-based lives and activities of the students. Although the factors influencing levels of parental involvement often reside outside the educational system’s locus of control, the increasing number of student dropouts will result in devastating effects on both the citizens and the economy of Texas. In a general sense, this study explored whether the Charter school model in Texas can be transferable to parent involvement best practices in various other systems and districts across the state. The study explored the various reasons behind parents’ decision-making processes when applying to Charter school institutions. The research methodology utilized in the present study was a survey method research designed through a quantitative and qualitative query from parents who elect to enroll their children in a specific charter schools (labeled “STAR” schools for purpose of anonymity). Specifically, the research attempted to answer the following questions: 1. What are the important factors that parents consider when deciding to choose a particular school? 2. What are the most important factors that result in parent satisfaction with their child's school? 3. What are the most important factors that result in parent dissatisfaction with their child's school? This study helps support the implication for practice in two areas: (a) improvements at the charter school level, and (b) improvement in the public school level. Although data was collected from the charter school level, this data can be applied to the public school level as well. A take home conclusion from this study is that, although parents do find certain features more important than others, the data collected showed that a majority parents found that all ten of the survey’s features, which included convenient location, academic programs, school and class size, quality of teachers, extracurricular activities, parent communication and involvement, discipline and safety, school culture and climate, and special programs, to be important or very important.