Date of Award

2018

Access Restriction

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctorate in Education

Department

Education

School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Marta Baltodano, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Franca Dell'Olio, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Edmundo Litton. Ed.D.

Abstract

This qualitative study focused on understanding the process immigrant Latina/o families in the greater Los Angeles area underwent when selecting a charter school for their children. Through narrative interviews, 13 participants shared their perspectives of how and why they chose a charter school, and detailed the factors they considered in their selection process. Through the theoretical framework of cultural community wealth, social and cultural capital, participants answered the research question why and how do immigrant Latina/o parents research and apply to charter schools, and what are the factors they consider in the decision-making process?

Participants described social networks as connections to charter schools their children attended. They indicated reasons for selecting a charter school included a desire for a better educational opportunity than what they had encountered in the traditional public school environment. They viewed education as a vehicle for upward social mobility and understood the value of a quality education in helping achieve this outcome. Participants described their commitment to their children and families as a driving force behind their selection to actively search a better educational environment, which they found in charter schools.

The primary factors parents considered when selecting a charter school were the school’s proximity and location, the attentiveness of teachers, the support of students’ learning needs and challenges, a welcoming community, the school’s leadership, staff who were able to communicate with parents in their native language as well as an active community of parents who demonstrated interest and involvement in the school.

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