The impact of charter schools on rural traditional public-schools and their communities

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Bruce Carroll (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Kathy Hytten

Abstract: Much of the research surrounding charter schools has focused on examining the achievement of students in charter schools and exploring the impact of charter schools specifically in urban areas. More charter schools have opened in recent years in rural areas, however, there is limited research surrounding the impact of these charter schools in rural areas. This study was designed to better understand how rural traditional public-schools have been impacted by the increased presence of, and competition from, charter schools in their communities, and to examine how those rural traditional public-schools have responded to this increased competition. In addition, I studied how the rural communities surrounding these traditional public-schools have been impacted the presence of charter schools in their community. In this qualitative case study, I researched the impacts of charter schools on rural traditional public-schools, the responses of rural traditional public-schools and the impact on their communities. I conducted semi-structured interviews with principals in a school feeder pattern in a rural school district in central North Carolina that has seen an increased number of charter school options arrive in their community. I also conduced semi-structured interviews with small-business owners who were tied into both the rural public-schools and the community through their small businesses, and conducted focus groups with parents from all four schools that operate in the community in which this study was located. I found that rural traditional public-schools have seen numerous impacts from the increased number of charter schools in their communities, and schools and school leaders are increasingly aware of these impacts and are working to mitigate them through increased programs and new practices within their buildings, including through the use of marketing practices and increased offerings for students and parents within their school community. I also found that rural communities are being divided as a result of the increased options for school choice, as parents who see themselves as loyal to their rural traditional public-schools feel betrayed or abandoned by parents who elect to enroll their children in charter schools, and as a result, tensions and divisions have emerged in the community.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Charter Schools, Public, Rural, Rural Communities, Traditional Public-Schools
Charter schools $z North Carolina
Public schools $z North Carolina
Rural schools $z North Carolina

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