An exploration of the exercise of parental choice and decision making under the provisions of the No child left behind act

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sandra Culmer (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Carl Lashley

Abstract: This study examined the perceptions and experiences the parents of elementary school aged children had regarding expanding schooling options within the public educational system and choosing schools using the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) public school choice provision. The NCLB Act of 2001 was the federal government's effort to improve schools and nurture high standards and academic success for all students. Policies intended to encourage greater parent participation in their children's schooling are emphasized, especially when children attend low-performing Title I schools. Parents may use public school choice provisions to transfer their children from struggling schools and enroll them in public schools that met or exceeded the NCLB proficiency benchmark called Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). This study was designed to give insight into parents' experiences in choosing to exercise or not exercise the transfer options in schools that have failed to make AYP. The specific questions explored were: 1. What are the experiences and perceptions of parents/guardians whose children have the opportunity to transfer from an elementary Title I school designated as an underperforming school under NCLB to a presumably higher-performing school? 2. How do parents/guardians describe their children's experiences following the choices that the parents/guardians made to leave one school for another because of NCLB or not to switch schools and to remain at their current low-performing school? 3. How do parents describe their own experience with the school and school district after enrolling their child in the NCLB choice school or having their child remain in the current low-performing school? Phenomenological research methodology was used to investigate parents' experiences, view school choose from the parents' perceptions, and capture parents' voices as they describe their experiences. Two major findings emerged from the data. The majority of the parents perceived that the choice option gave them greater influence and control over their child's education. They perceived it transformed the selection of schools from a passive to an active decision making process. The findings suggest that NCLB's transfer policy would benefit from attention to parents' perceptions and experiences to improve implementation and achieve the goals of the law especially for low-income and minority students.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
No Child Left Behind, Parental choice, Public school choice
United States. $t No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
School choice $z United States $v Case studies

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