Navigating the social/cultural politics of school choice : why do parents choose montessori? a case study

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Deborah Evans Parker (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Charles Gause

Abstract: a "The underlying motives of school choice emerged as major courses of action to offer parents opportunities for education in the free market enterprise and to limit the racial desegregation of public schools. This policy became known as "freedom of choice." Historically, parental choice of schools was the option of parents who could afford the tuition of private or parochial schools. The first options for public school choice appeared during the 1960's. Today, magnet schools are the most popular form of school choice. Montessori schools have become a well-liked preference of magnet school options. Fifteen years ago, there were approximately 50 public Montessori schools in the United States. Today, there are between 250 and 300 public Montessori schools. While research has been accumulating on why parents choose a particular type of school (parochial, private, magnet, charter, or local public school) far less is known about why parents choose a particular curriculum. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore how parents navigate school choice decisions and why they choose Montessori schools over other available options. This dissertation further examines if parents' educational choices correspond to their reasons for selecting Montessori schooling and the impact family income and ethnicity have on their preference for Montessori. The methodology of this study utilized a mixed methods research medium. The mixed methods approach blended two different research strategies, qualitative and quantitative. Recognizing the overlap between qualitative and quantitative research methods, the data from self-report surveys were supplemented with semi-structured interviews. Three hundred surveys were distributed to the parents of the Montessori school and interviews were held with ten parents of the same school. Of the original 300 surveys, 132 were returned and comprised my final sample. The quantitative findings indicate that parents who choose the Montessori school use a range of strategies to gain relevant information and are astute in choosing a school that is congruent with their particular values and aspirations. The qualitative findings illustrate why the Montessori curriculum has become so popular. Responses are remarkably similar across income and ethnicity."--Abstract from author supplied metadata.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2007
Montessori, curriculum, motives, school, choice, racial desegregation, public schools
School choice--United States--Sociological aspects
Montessori method of education--United States--Sociological aspects

Email this document to