Investigating teacher preferences for teaching in charter schools and the democratic implications of those decisions

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

Abstract: The purposes of this study were to determine why teachers chose to leave the traditional public school to teach in a charter school and also how teachers understand the role of schooling in a democracy. In this qualitative study, I interviewed ten teachers from five different charter schools. Teachers first addressed their reasons for leaving the traditional public school in order to teach in a charter school. Teachers then shared their understanding of the purposes of education and the democratic implications of those purposes. After interviewing the teachers and analyzing the data from the charter school websites where they worked, I answered two research questions. First, in determining why teachers leave the traditional public-school system to teach in charter schools, the reasons are both personal and professional. Personal values and needs help guide the decision-making process for the teachers as well as the need to be viewed as a professional who is able to make sound pedagogical decisions in their classroom and also in the school. Second, I studied teacher’s perception of democracy, especially in relation to the purposes of schooling and their choice to work in a charter school. In most cases, teachers were unable to demonstrate a sound understanding of democratic principles and their implications for the classroom learning or the school choices movement. Teachers were sometimes able to explain how they promote citizenship, empathy, and social justice, but they rarely invoked specific democratic principles. Teacher’s decisions, although personal and value based, have implications for society as a whole, even as they are often made for personal reasons and without much thought about how charter schools effect the democratic potential of public education. The implications from this study will influence how traditional public schools, charter schools, and teacher education programs approach educating their respective clienteles, especially if we hope to strengthen and sustain the democratic purposes for public education.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Charter school, Democracy, Democratic implications, Teacher preference
Charter schools $x Social aspects $z United States
Public schools $x Social aspects $z United States
Democracy and education $z United States
Teachers $z United States $x Attitudes

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