North Carolina traditional public school principals' perspectives about charter schools : a qualitative iinvestigation

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Amy Susan Eslinger Jones (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Mary Herzog

Abstract: The purpose of this research was to analyze North Carolina traditional publicschool principals’ perspectives about and experiences with charter schools. A history ofschool choice in America was explored, as well as the changing role of public schoolprincipals. This dissertation presented a thorough review of the literature on schoolchoice and charter schools in this country, specifically focusing on North Carolina.Principals across the state were interviewed about their concerns with charter schools, thestrengths of charter schools, and how charter schools have influenced their decisions asschool leaders. Interviews were transcribed and then coded for themes that would addressthe research questions. The majority of participants spoke of hostile parent andgovernment attitudes toward traditional public schools. Principals found themselvescompeting with charter schools for students and marketing their schools and theirofferings. Participants believed that charter schools created segregation and inequitablefunding, as well as a playing field that was not level when it came to testing and teacherqualifications. Principals also acknowledged the lack of collaboration between their schools and charter schools in their districts. This research revealed that traditional publicschool principals were more concerned about funding and competing for students thanthey were about learning from charter schools for the purpose of school improvement.They were blind to innovative practices occurring in charter schools in their districts. Onthe other hand, data showed that charter schools in participants’ districts were enrollingfewer economically disadvantaged students, a sub-group which typically does notperform well on tests. Research also revealed that charter schools in North Carolina havea history of financial mismanagement. This research could serve as vital information forpolicy makers when discussing future legislation and policies for charter schools in thestate, and for district and school leaders determining whether or not competition orcollaboration with charter schools is the right move.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
Charter schools, Principals, Public Schools, School leadership
School principals -- North Carolina -- Attitudes
Charter schools -- North Carolina

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