Term of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

James E. Green

Committee Member 1

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 2

Anne E. Marshall

Abstract

Private schools were the original educational entities in the United States and have continued playing a prominent role in educating America's youth. The number of private schools has increased over the last decade while the number of private school students has remained stable at approximately nine percent of school-aged children. The reasons for choosing a private school are just as varied as the types of private schools available. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the reasons parents give for choosing a private school education for their children. A basic interpretive qualitative study was used to discover and understand the perspectives of the participants. There were three participant groups: parents, students, and administrators representing religious and nonreligious private schools. The interviews were recorded and transcribed by the researcher. Further, the researcher conducted three levels of analysis of the data: first to determine patterns, second to derive broad themes from those patterns, and finally to form conclusions in response to the research questions. Several themes emerged from interviews with the participants: 1) perceived school characteristics; 2) quality of education; 3) physical environment; and 4) extracurricular activities.

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