Mobility, Choice and Motivations: Parental Use of Open Enrollment in Arizona Title I Schools
AuthorCota, Hortensia Meg
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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.
AbstractInequities in education have long been the driving force behind school reform movements. In efforts to desegregate schools and offer more equitable education opportunities, more privatized and marketized school systems have emerged. This movement has been referred to as neoliberalism. This term encompasses the individual’s right to make school selections based on their personal preferences or desires. Current school choice research suggests parents seek schools with better resources or curriculum, desire the social connections certain schools can offer them, or select schools based on right fit for their families. Neoliberals argue that schools will be reformed or transformed as a result of changing to meet the needs of their customers. They believe competitive school markets will lead to better education systems. However, outcomes of choice movements have been inconsistent and have not demonstrated that choice has impacted achievement or addressed educational disparities. Some argue that it has further segregated schools and has led to greater inequities, particularly for minority or disadvantaged students. Furthermore, the research suggests that access may be facilitated or hindered by an individual’s cultural or social capital. Conversely, the research on student mobility suggests that minority and disadvantaged student populations are often highly mobile students. Frequent school moves for these student groups are detrimental to their academic success and can affect their school experience on multiple levels. The result is two opposing views on how to best ensure student achievement. One view encourages movement, the other does not. This study examined the use of open-enrollment in highly-mobile, high poverty schools. The findings suggest that a connection between student mobility and use of open-enrollment exists. Additionally, the findings revealed that barriers continue to hinder true choice access and motivations for school choice differs in parents at high-poverty, high-mobility schools. The parents in this study did not exercise choice to improve academic outcomes. This is counter to the intent of school choice. Factors such as safety, happiness and relationships were more valued and sought. Moreover, school movement was often prompted by negative events resulting in situational movement. In these instances, open enrollment was utilized to facilitate a reactionary response instead of being utilized to improve achievement outcomes. Based on the results of this study, an evaluation of current school choice practices, legislation and funding may be necessary to ensure the future success of students when exercising choice opportunities.
Degree ProgramGraduate College