Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Jim Palermo


The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to understand the perspectives of parents who choose magnet schools. The study investigated sources of information parents use in their school search, factors influencing them to apply to a magnet school, features of charter and private schools that attract them, and reasons for choosing a magnet school. Through an analysis of 984 surveys from parents who applied to a magnet school for the 2018-2019 school year and data from focus groups, the researcher found that recommendations from others is the most important source of information in parent school searches. Parents also consulted online resources, participated in magnet information sessions, studied school test scores and ratings, and toured schools. Important influences on parent school choice were the magnet program theme, impressions of school leadership, school reputation, diversity, and meeting the individual needs of the child. Parents had mixed feelings about school grades and ratings. For many parents, school tours were the deciding factor in their school choice. Distance to the school, having all their children in the same school, and child care needs were limiting factors. Parents cited small school and small class size, specialized curriculum, challenging academic programs, school reputation, and location as the main attractions to charter and private schools. Parents did not choose a charter or a private school because of their lack of resources for children with special needs, their lack of diversity, their lack of transportation and lunch, and the additional financial costs.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.