Parents' perceptions of the role of curriculum in nonpublic schools of choice
AuthorAskew, Thomas Milton, 1946-
Sociology, Individual and Family Studies.
Education, Curriculum and Instruction.
AdvisorClark, Donald C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAs the percentage of students opting for nonpublic schooling increased in the nineties, private sector choices have diversified, with schools as distinctly different as Afro-centric, Waldorf, Jewish, Muslim, and varieties of Christian schools. Much of the early research in how parents make school choices focused on school climate features rather than curricular considerations. In this study a somewhat isolated population related both by blood and religious association was analyzed in terms of their schooling, choices over a nineteen year period. The PEERS (political, educational, economic, religious, and social attitudes.) Test indicated that although these seven families are highly congruent in their beliefs, their schooling choices were well distributed between public school, a private Christian School with a traditional curriculum, a private Christian school with a continuous progress curriculum (A.C.E.), and homeschooling. The four research questions for this project were: What factors influenced each separate schooling choice? What was the parents' understanding of the curricular differences among their several choices? To what degree did curriculum, affect the parents' final choice of a school? What does the evidence show about parents' ability to make effective choices? The author's participant observation in the test group's cultural milieu for over eight years provided knowledge about the group's thinking processes. Formal exit interviews were recorded and coded for insights on how schooling choices were made. From the analysis of the parents' stated reasons for schooling changes the two most significant findings were the strong influence of adult peer pressure to follow certain trends in schooling choices, and a definite chronological progression ending with strong family commitments to a particular choice. Primary themes which arose, from the exit interviews included parents' ability to recognize individual differences among children, parental understanding of the role of curriculum and the role of the school environment, specifically safety issues and peer influence. Unexpected themes which arose were supervisory concerns, the question of values, and philosophical issues. While curriculum was concluded not to be a strong factor in parents' decision, the results did confirm parent gains in understanding of curriculum, over time. Results also affirmed parental efficacy in educational decision making.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Teaching and Teacher Education