Journal of Undergraduate Research


polynesian parents', young children's schooling, minority status


Family, Home, and Social Sciences




This research expands the literature on school choice to take into account the impact of minority status and culture on parental schooling decisions. The purpose of this exploratory study is to identify the range of beliefs, experiences and expectations that inform Polynesian parents’ choice of school for enrolling their elementary-aged children. This case study is unique in terms of providing insights into the experiences and attitudes toward schooling among a group of minority parents about whom little is known. This population is of interest because of a bifurcated distribution of educational attainment, with large portions of the community facing educational challenges similar to other minority groups but a notable portion of the community obtaining bachelor’s degrees and beyond. In addition, recent increases in this population–as 1st- and 2nd-generation immigrants and migrants to Utah and other areas of the West–also suggest the need to improve understanding about the schooling needs and interests of this group. Using qualitative research methods and in-depth interviews, the study will also assess how actual experiences with the schools chosen relate to the criteria identified by parents participating in the study. The research results may provide greater understanding about how Polynesian parents make decisions about schools for their children and how those decisions relate to their actual experiences with the school they choose.

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