Journal of Undergraduate Research


low-SES families, school decision factors, children's education


Family, Home, and Social Sciences




Parents constantly make decisions in regard to their children’s education, whether it be decisions about enrolling their children in the local public school or private school or even where to live based on school zoning areas. Alternative school options such as charter and magnet schools are becoming popular options for parents who are looking to send their children to a different school that is not in their assigned geographical boundary. How parents make these decisions are not always understood, especially when it comes to understanding parents who face economic and social disadvantages. Even though school choice policies have been implemented to create more educational opportunities for low-SES families, research shows that advantaged families are more likely to take part in school choice options. Disadvantaged families are disproportionately assigned to failing schools and often do not participate in school choice options that would allow them to send their children better schools. Furthermore, when low-income parents are asked about their decision making factors, they claim to choose schools based on academic quality (Roda and Wells 2013). A disconnect arises: why are low-SES parents saying they value academic quality, yet actively decide to send their children to low-performing school?

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