Is school choice related to higher parental involvement? Kelly E. Sheehan, Christa L. Green, & Kathleen V. Hoover-Dempsey Vanderbilt University AERA 2007
Thank you! • Thank you to everyone in the Family-School Partnership Lab for feedback and assistance with this project! • Portions of data in this project came from a project supported by OERI Grant #R305T010673.
Purpose Analyze differences in the level of home-based and school-based parental involvement reported by parents of students in 2 types of choice schools (charter & public enhanced option) and 1 non-choice school (traditionally assigned public)
Parental Involvement Parent involvement has been related to: • Positive achievement outcomes for minority student groups, particularly African American students (Hill, 2001) • Increased student confidence and self-efficacy (Hoagland & Leadbeater, 2004) • Decreased student disruptive behaviors in school (Hoagland & Leadbeater, 2004) • Decreased student aggression and other behaviors of concern (Hill, et al., 2004; McNeal, 1999)
School Choice • Parents who are satisfied with their child’s school are more likely than dissatisfied parents to become involved (Epstein, 1995) • School choice has been related to higher levels of parent satisfaction with schools, relative to parental satisfaction with zone-assigned schools (Schneider & Buckley, 2003) • Parents who choose a school that meets their own expectations report higher satisfaction and increased involvement compared with parents of students who are assigned to a school (Kleitz, Weiher, Tedin, & Matland, 2000) While logical, this may not necessarily be the case.
Challenges to Parental Involvement in Choice Schools • Obstacles to involving parents in choice schools include: • Inadequate transportation to the school (Shumow, Vandell, & Kang, 1996) • Inflexible work schedules (Epstein, 1995) These are in addition to standard challenges to parental involvement in schools, such as time, energy, and invitations to involvement.
Comparing Choice & Non-Choice Schools • 3 Types of schools participated in this research: • Charter • Public Enhanced Option • Traditional (zoned) Public Schools
School Type: Charter School • Focus on specific population: students at-risk for poor academic outcomes (Manno, Finn, & Vanourek 2000) • Parents and students generally are “very satisfied” with charter school education (Schneider & Buckley, 2003); 2/3 of parents nationwide reported that charter school was “better” than child’s previous school, often because of: • Smaller class and school sizes • More individualized teacher attention • 3/5 of parents of children attending charter schools reported that they had: • Higher teacher quality, increased parental involvement, better curriculum, extra help for students, higher academic standards, and more accessibility, openness, and discipline (Fusarelli, 2002)
School Type: Public Enhanced Option • Public Enhanced Option schools are part of the public school system. • Two methods of enrollment: • Attendance in the school’s zone • Enrollment in a lottery for non-zoned spaces • Differences from most traditional public schools: • Smaller class sizes (e.g., 15 students), • Extended school year (e.g., 20 more days) (www.mnps.org/Page2697.aspx) • There is little research on parent involvement practices in public enhanced option schools as compared with traditional public schools.
School Type: Traditional Public • Students are zoned based on residence; however, the school may not be near the residence • For additional information on this public school district please see: • http://www.mnps.org/
Research Questions • Do parents who have made a choice to send their child to an alternative school (charter or enhanced option) have higher levels of involvement than traditional public school parents, at home and school? • Do charter school parents have the highest involvement levels?
Sources of Data • 5 studies, all set in a metropolitan area in middle Tennessee • All schools were in the same school district • All data were from self-report surveys
Participants • 981 parents of K-4 students in 8 traditional public schools • 294 parents of K-4 students in 2 public enhanced option public schools • 35 parents of K-4 students in 1 charter school* *Note: Differences in school samples were due to availability of schools. Only 1 charter school was operating in this district at the time of the study.
Measure (cont’d) • Parent involvement at home: frequency of parental involvement activities in the home across the previous school year • e.g., “I supervised my child’s homework” • Frequency scale ranging from 1 (never) to 6 (daily) • = .62 to .97 • Parent involvement at school: frequency of parental involvement activities at the school across the previous school year • e.g., “I help out at my child’s school” • Frequency scale ranging from 1 (never) to 6 (daily) • = .71 to .91 • (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 2005)
Results • Home-based Involvement: • Charter school parents had the highest levels (m= 5.31, sd= 1.03), followed by public school parents (m= 4.97, sd= 0.93), and parents whose children were enrolled in public enhanced option schools (m= 4.89, sd= 0.92 ) • School-based Involvement: • Public enhanced option schools reported the highest level (m= 3.38, sd= 1.55), followed by public school parents (m= 3.34, sd= 1.54), with charter school parents reporting the lowest (m= 2.76, sd= 1.72)
Results (cont’d) • Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was used to compare levels of self-reported parent involvement (home and school) across school types • A significant relationship was found for levels of home-based parental involvement and school type (F [2,1309]=3.39, p <.05) • No significant relationship across school type was found for school-based parental involvement
Results: Home-Based Involvement F=[2,1309]=3.39, p= .03
Post Hoc Analysis of Home-Based Involvement A posthoc exploration of home-based involvement using Fisher’s LSD showed that charter schools were significantly different from both types of public schools; however public and public enhanced option school parents did not significantly differ from one another
Summary • Parents in charter schools reported significantly more home-based parental involvement than parents in traditional & enhanced option public schools • Public school parents’ home-based involvement was also significantly different than charter school parents home-based involvement.
Next Steps • Investigate why school-based involvement did not differ significantly across school types • Examine factors that may have led to significant differences in home-based involvement level, e.g., • Did teacher invitations to involvement differ across the three types of schools? • Did parent responses to invitations differ across the three types of schools?