“It’s Our Best Choice Right Now”: Examining the Choice Options of Charter School Parents

Adriana Villavicencio


One of the underlying premises of the charter school movement is that quality drives consumer choice. As educational consumers, parents are viewed as rational actors who, if given the choice, will select better performing school. In examining the choice processes of charter school parents, however, this study calls into question the extent to which some parents can make optimal choices. Interviews with parents enrolled in two different charter schools indicate that charter parents do not necessarily choose higher performing charter schools; nor do they necessarily leave low performing charter schools. The study also provides evidence that parent “choice sets” (Bell, 2009) vary depending on networks and social capital. Thus, choice alone does not necessarily ensure that parents will have better, more equal options.


charter schools; parent choice; choice policies

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v21n81.2013

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