A comparison of parent satisfaction in traditional elementary schools and charter elementary schools in one midwestern USA city

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership


Department of Educational Leadership


Advisor: Carolyn R. Benz


Charter schools have created a competitive environment in Dayton, Ohio, which ranks as one of our nation's cities with the most charter schools. While charter school numbers have increased, enrollment in Dayton Public Schools has steadily declined. Although district, school and student performance in both settings is analyzed annually on state report cards, parent satisfaction has not been examined as closely. The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a significant difference in satisfaction levels between parents of traditional public elementary school students and parents of charter elementary school students. Charter schools are controversial, as they have as many supporters as they have detractors. Supporters insist that charters provide additional educational choices for parents and that they can be a solution to failing school districts. Opponents of charter schools, however, state that they are a financial drain on their host districts, and that they can promote segregation. Three traditional public elementary schools and three charter elementary schools were selected for this study. These schools were chosen because of the willingness of their principals to participate, and their similarities in performance index scores and report card grades (as assigned by the Ohio Department of Education). A hypothesis comparing the satisfaction of parents/guardians based on type of school was tested. The Parent Satisfaction Survey, which was created by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), was used to collect data from 193 parents/guardians during the 2013-2014 school year. Parents/guardians used a Likert scale to identify their satisfaction levels on 58 items within 9 subscales: parent involvement, curriculum, student activities, teachers, support services, school buildings, discipline, administrators, and information services. The last item of each subscale asked parents/guardians to indicate their overall satisfaction with that particular area. When the data were analyzed, no significant differences were found between the two types of schools on any of the subscales on the NASSP survey. As the number of students enrolled in our nation's public schools continues to decline, researchers and school districts may want to examine what factors drive parents/guardians to make certain choices regarding the education of their children. Charter school growth is likely to continue, and the expansion and creation of additional educational options is likely to occur as well.


Charter schools Ohio Dayton, School choice Ohio Dayton, Parents Attitudes, Education

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Copyright 2014, author