This project explores how parents choose between private, public, and charter schools. Recent years have seen an increase in charter schools, particularly in urban areas. This complicates parent decision making parents choose schools that are close to home and are predominantly of their own race (Kleitz, Weiher, Tedin, Matland, 2000). Previous research indicates that minority and low income homes have different preferences for schools than Whites and high income homes (Weiher, Tedin, 2002). This project was conducted through nine in-depth interviews with parents who have elementary aged children enrolled in charter, private or public schools in Atlanta, Georgia. Symbolic Interactionism, Conflict Theory, and Rational Choice Theory were used to help interpret the data. The five most prevalent themes that emerged from the data were, location, educational quality, safety, race, and prioritization of factors. The findings suggest that parents think they are making rational decisions by weighing out different factors. In truth, however, parental priorities are not often clear and are based in their prior experiences as well as word-of-mouth knowledge.


Nurse, Anne


Sociology and Anthropology


Other Education


The College of Wooster, Senior IS

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Najiyah J. McKinney